Since the success of Four Weddings and a Funeral, England has been the cinematic go-to country for romantic comedies that has only gotten stronger over the years with the releases of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill, and Love Actually. Originally written with Hugh Grant in mind, likable A Beautiful Mind star Paul Bettany steps into Wimbledon as tennis player Peter Colt, a thirty-one-year-old wild card entry who is planning to retire from the sport and accept a position as a tennis pro at an elite club after his last Wimbledon tournament. However, after he falls for the aggressive, rising, young American player Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst), he makes an unprecedented comeback with the newfound confidence one experiences from falling in love. While Colt’s game is better than ever, Bradbury becomes the object of scrutiny as her overly protective sports father (Sam Neill) overreacts, determined to keep his daughter away from any distraction, especially one in the form of an older British athlete. The predictable premise is heightened by a creative usage of first person narration to get inside Bettany’s head, wonderful musical choices selected by Nick Angell, and exciting visuals that get us right into the game within the first few minutes of the film. Above all, Wimbledon benefits from the energetic portrayals by its two leads, both of whom underwent rigorous tennis training before the shoot in order to successfully fake professional shots and serves. While the Bridget Jones team will never top their “ultimate romantic comedy,” Love Actually, I honestly preferred Wimbledon to Notting Hill, which, aside from the charismatic portrayals by Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, suffered from the creation and inclusion of a selfish and irritating female heroine not worthy of the film’s romantic coupling.
Music from Wimbledon