… It’s back!!! It is that special month of love and as such, it is time to talk about those silly little rom-coms that I save up for such an occasion. Welcome back to year 4 of Cheesy Romance Month! All things considered, I am surprised that I have not talked more about Meg Ryan movies. All things considered, she is the queen of the cheesy romantic comedy, and yet, the only one I touched so far was You’ve Got Mail and that was the first one that I ever did years ago. Granted, I did start at the bottom of the barrel as far as these movies are concerned… But fuck it. Why not walk across the street to You’ve Got Mail’s wacky neighbor, Kate & Leopold.
Kate & Leopold is a movie that does not try to hide its subtlety. It is the story of time travel where Leopold the Duke of Albany, played by Mr. Cream-Your-Pants himself, Hugh Jackman travels to the present day after following Kate’s ex-boyfriend Stuart (Liev Schreiber). Stuart studies temporal physics and has discovered a hole to another time and tragically have Leopold follow him along the way. Once there, Leopold is introduced to Kate (Meg Ryan). Kate is a terrible person and works for a marketing firm selling shitty butter. The story follows Kate as she becomes charmed by Leopold who may very well be the most perfect character that ever perfected.
God bless Hugh Jackman. This is a guy who signed up for a shitty Rom Com script and said: “You know what? I don’t care that this is bad! I am going to charm the pants off of every man and woman that sets foot in this theater.” AND HE DOES IT! My god, he sells Leopold to the world. He cooks, makes dinner, enjoys music and plays, is chivalrous to a fault, he gets Kate’s purse back from a burglar by riding a white steed through central park, this guy is perfect!
Hugh Jackman didn’t need to do this movie and he could have slept walked through it just to get it over with. But dammit… Jackman fucking sells every single second of this thing and I love it!
This Movie Knows What It Is
I always have to give credit for a movie that knows what it is. Even if it is shit. This movie isn’t here to tell some great story or to engage in any thought provoking narrative. This is pure cheese wish fulfillment for any woman over the age of 30 who is jaded about the world and wants a noble duke to ride in on a white steed and sweep them off their feet.
While other Meg Ryan movies, like French Kiss or Sleepless in Seattle do attempt to engage the characters and tell a complex story about love and romance… This one is nothing more than fan service. It is shitty fan fiction that got green lit into a movie. IF that is what gets you going… Then who the hell am I to judge?
Kate is a Terrible Character
I do get it, I really do. When you make these movies, you need to give characters flaws. Whatever that flaw may be. Whimsical, clumsy, kind of dumb, and so forth have all been used before. Even the concept of “bitchy” or “hateful” can have its own charm to it. Look at Silver Lining’s Playbook. Both characters had some serious emotional issues, but still worked quite well for the narrative. Kate… Is just terrible.
I guess you need to inject some kind of conflict into the game considering the fact that the Leopold character is flawless in every way so you have a character who, instead of the man being changed through the power of love, it is the woman being changed by the power of love. But it just doesn’t work.
The first interaction you have with the Kate character is her shocking her ex boyfriend’s dog with a shock collar! You fucking monster! You shocked your ex boyfriend’s dog because you were fucking petty and wanted to shock him after he saved his dog from being tortured? Fuck you. The entire time you are watching this, you can’t help but think. “Really Leopold? There are so many better options out there. Do you really have to go with her?” She isn’t even really changed by Leopold. Her personality remains largely unchanged. She just agrees to quit her lucrative job for the sake of going back in time after knowing Leopold for a week. She is, by all accounts, a terrible character with some questionable motivation.
This movie knows what it is. Unlike You’ve Got Mail, French Kiss, or Sleepless in Seattle, Kate & Leopold knows this is just wish fulfillment fan service and just rolls with it. It doesn’t engage in the fact that Kate is going back into a time where she is not legally allowed to vote, show anything above her ankles, and in a time when polio, smallpox, and measles are still a thing. It doesn’t want to ask any questions or solve any problems. It doesn’t even want to engage on whether or not this relationship is healthy. It just wants to hand the audience the perfect chivalrous man in 1800’s Hugh Jackman, create a puppet with Meg Ryan, and watch the money rake in.
Honestly, if that works for you, then all the power to you. This movie is not good. It is bad, but it certainly has a level of camp to it that can be enjoyable. Especially since Hugh Jackman does not sleep walk through this movie. So if anything, it is worth to watch it for its insanity.
Final Score 2.5/5
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