Nothing makes much sense in the loopy comedy The Love Punch. Not the plot (a divorced couple joins forces for payback when they discover their retirement savings have been stolen). Not the plan (they’ll steal a multimillion-dollar diamond necklace from the fiancée of the hedge fund manager who bankrupted them). Not the execution (which involves swimming across a bay, scaling a rock wall and sneaking into a high-end wedding with serious security). This movie couldn’t be more fantastical if dragons swooped down and incinerated London, Paris and the south of France.
What The Love Punch does have going for it is the wonderfully funny Emma Thompson and the likable Pierce Brosnan as the estranged Kate and Richard Jones, who have gone their separate ways now that their children are off at university. Their one-two punch isn’t quite enough to overcome the frivolity of the movie, but they do make sitting through it somewhat pleasurable.
Thompson is especially madcap here; writer/director Joel Hopkins worked with her on his last film (the romantic comedy Last Chance Harvey, with Dustin Hoffman). He understands that she’s the real gem of the picture, and allows her ample room to mug, fire off wry humor and even speed around Paris in a tiny car.
Problem is, the movie, which feels like something made back in the late 1960s or early ’70s, is so relentlessly silly it’s hard to watch without a lot of eye-rolling. Everything falls into place so easily for the Joneses (whose first move is to confront the evil rat who sold them out and demand their money back, a tactic even a 10-year-old would recognize as fruitless). The leap from there to “let’s steal his fiancée’s valuable jewelry” is a short one, and soon they’ve enlisted their neighbors (Timothy Spall and Celia Jones) to fly to France and join enlist in the caper. The good news is, apparently even the middle class in England can easily dig up connections to illegally fence stolen gems in foreign countries.
Along the way, the Joneses rekindle what drew them together in the first place. That’s not a surprising development, but then, if you’re surprised by anything that happens, you probably haven’t seen a movie in quite a long time.
Cast: Emma Thompson, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Spall, Celia Jones
Writer-director: Joel Hopkins
A Ketchup Entertainment release. Running time: 94 minutes. Some sexual content, language and rude humor. Opens Friday May 23 at area theaters