British rom-coms live and die by the charm of their patter. And though this lesbian-themed entry in the Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral category neatly accomplishes the genre’s other requirement, the ability to double as travelogue, its players are availed of precious little wit. The plot, which unfolds in dappled and dewy Primrose Hill, finds angelic Rachel (Piper Perabo) questioning her “perfect” marriage to successful broker Heck (Matthew Goode, the British Mark Ruffalo) after she locks desirous eyes with their hot wedding florist Luce (Lena Headey). To move things along, Heck’s cad pal (Darren Boyd) falls for Luce, occasioning more social contact with Rachel. The redundant meet-cute is extended further by dull jags involving Rachel’s precocious 8-year-old sister, her parents’ strained marriage, and Luce’s mother’s dating issues. Posh bores all (what passes for humor are things like stuffy mum exclaiming, “sweet shit in a bucket!”), the characters simply run their tedious mouths until the two women finally consummate their flirtation with a tasteful smooch in the flower shop stockroom. These being moral times for celluloid gays, there is no consideration of an affair. It’s got to be all or nothing.
Straining to adhere to treacly formula—in which any personal fallout surrounding love’s madness is milked for jokes then tidily resolved —the film creates a bizarro world where the only obstacles to the smooth transition from affluent hetero wifehood to affluent girl-girl bliss are a few stunned parental reactions that instantly melt into full-fledged support. Even mild-mannered Heck just basically says “heck.” But then, what does he care? He’s rich as folk. The goal here is to ensconce us in luxury as we imagine what our two foxes must be imagining doing to each other. But not only is there not enough panting to bunch any panties, this polite romp could use more of that other L-word: laughs. And it doesn’t help that the final song, “Happy Together,” to which the title alludes, only reminds anyone who saw Adaptation of a movie that had lots of ’em.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 17, 2006