"Not a Net Gain"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(RoRo, HH, LLL, V, SS, N, A, D, M) Romantic worldview about a man inspired by his ‘true love’ with strong humanist themes; includes 35 mild obscenities, 14 profanities and 1 blasphemy; subdued violence includes man hitting another, falls on the tennis court, brief fighting, man undergoing acupuncture, married couple fight and make up, and rabbit hit by rock; unmarried couples shown in bed, much promiscuity, kissing, sounds of sex activity, and heavy sexual innuendo and jokes; upper male nudity, brief rear male nudity, nude statue shown, obscured nudity of woman in shower, women and men in underwear, and cleavage; drinking; smoking; and, lying rebuked, deception, fleeing parental authority, talk of superstitions, and joke about evolution.
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) is the delightfully humble tennis pro who never really made it to the top. Facing his less-than-successful sports career square in the eye, he decides this will be his final trip to WIMBLEDON. He knows, after all, that he cannot possibly compete with the younger generation of athletes, so he determines to lose as gracefully as possible, announce his retirement and accept an unappealing coaching job at a club for senior citizens.
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.
Do you enjoy articles like this?
Click here to become a monthly partner and receive a movie for free!