Not a Net Gain
Release Date: September 17, 2004
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 97 minutes
Distributor: Dimension Films and Universal Pictures
Address Comments To:Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein**
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GENRE: Romantic Comedy
Then, he meets beautiful Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst) and everything changes. She is the young and sassy American climbing her way to the top. Lizzie, accustomed to getting what she wants, flirts openly with Peter after their chance meeting. Her father (Sam Neill) contends that romantic distractions will only cause her to lose her focus and jeopardize her fast track to victory. Despite the risks, she seduces Peter just before an important match. Instead of throwing his game off, it has the opposite effect.
WIMBLEDON is not your garden-variety mindless teen romantic comedy. Sure, it has plenty of implied sex scenes, sex jokes, and tons of vulgar language, so it crosses the line into that dimwitted, lust-filled genre, but it is also sprinkled liberally with clever camera shots, self-deprecating narration by its protagonist and a fun focus on the odd sport of highbrow tennis. All in all, WIMBLEDON tries to straddle the net, but it can’t seem to find a safe resting place between innocent romance and openly promiscuous indulgence.
Congratulations to director Richard Loncraine who wisely made tennis the star of this movie instead of the silly superficial romance between the two leads. Against Bettany, Dunst is way out of her league here. She whines and shrills her way through the script. Audiences will not be persuaded that she can carry the “America’s Next Sweetheart” title. Worst of all, every time she exclaims, “Peter!” audiences will think she is talking to Peter Parker of SPIDER-MAN. Her character is flat, unconvincing and immature.
Paul Bettany, on the other hand, carries this movie effectively and makes the rest of it enjoyable. His character’s various relationships with his odd family, his best friend and long-time tennis partner, and even a supportive ballboy on the court are much more interesting than his rushed romance with Lizzie. Bettany shines in WIMBLEDON and it should get him the overdue notoriety he deserves.
WIMBLEDON works as a tribute to tennis, but the emphasis on so much casual sex and mature humor mars the movie for family viewing. It is sad to think of the thousands of teenagers and preteens who will be negatively influenced by this story’s worldview and its contempt for morality and self-control.
WIMBLEDON tries to straddle the net, but it can’t seem to find a safe resting place between innocent romance and openly promiscuous indulgence. In contrast to its PG-13 rating, The movie has an abundance of implied sex scenes, sex jokes and vulgar language. It may work as a tribute to tennis, but the emphasis on so much casual sex and mature humor mars the movie for family viewing. It is sad to think of the thousands of teenagers who will be negatively influenced by this story’s contempt for morality and self-control.