Love Actually

Starring: Hugh Grant
Universal Pictures Video
RRP 24.99
Certificate: 15
Available now

Richard Curtis' movie tells numerous tales that explore the many aspects of love. The new Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) falls for a member of his Downing Street staff (Martine McCutcheon). A writer (Colin Firth) who has escaped to France discovers love again. A wife (Emma Thompson) suspects she may be losing her husband (Alan Rickman) to a younger woman. All these and more stories reach a climax one Christmas Eve in London...

Love Actually provides a great mix of storylines and characters, all of which are connected by six degrees of separation.

Bill Nighy plays Billy Mack, an ageing rock star who is making a Christmas comeback with a new song - Love is All Around. Only, being Christmas, the song has a festive twist to it. Mack's character is the backbone for the movie, even though he is not the main star. As the weeks move on, towards Christmas, will Mack reach number one? And if so, will he perform the song live and naked, as promised?

Around this mini-story are numerous other relationships which are all involved in love, in one guise or another. There is the Widower (Liam Neeson) and his young son - who himself is in love with a girl who doesn't even know he exists; The Bridegroom and his best man - who is in love with his friend's new wife; The boss (Alan Rickman) and his wife (Emma Thompson) - who suspects that her husband may be having an affair; England's new Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) - who discovers that he is falling for one of his staff (Martine McCutcheon); and a writer (Colin Firth), who goes abroad to get some inspiration for his new novel, and starts to fall in love with his Portuguese housemaid - even though he speaks no Portuguese and she can't speak English.

Intertwined amongst these main storylines, are smaller ones. These include Colin, a man convinced that going to America will ensure that he gets to bed lots of really good looking girls, even though he's not had an English girlfriend for years; Sarah, a woman who has been madly in love with a guy who works in the same office, but goes to pieces every time she goes near him; and John (The Office's Martin Freeman), a stand-in actor who meets the woman of his dreams while they are both employed as stand-ins for a porn movie.

And there are so many famous faces who put in cameos including (in appearance order) Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (Ant and Dec), Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Parkinson, Rowan Atkinson, Ivana Milicevic, Elisha Cuthbert (24), Claudia Schiffer, Shannon Elizabeth and Denise Richards.

While the majority of the movie is easily swallowed, it is the rather silly ending that lets the film down. It seems a little too mushy and too American.

Extras include audio commentary, deleted scenes. promo, making of documentary, music highlights, The Storytellers, Music video Christmas Is All Around.

There isn't a bad performance in the whole movie and if you liked Curtis' other movies, then you'll love this. Despite the fact that this is very overpriced, it is extraordinarily good actually.

Amber Leigh

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