... is all around.


A movie produced in 2003.

Before we start, keep in mind that any movie that decides to cast Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister of the UK and Billy Bob Thornton as the President of the US is clearly, clearly not taking itself too seriously.

The movie is, as you can guess from its cunning and ever-so-clever title, about love, all forms of it: the romantic kind, the unrequited kind, the kind between family, the kind between friends, and so forth. There are at least five major viewpoints that are being played in the movie, with additional smaller ones. The constant jumping isn't confusing, as they are very simply laid out, but it can be hard to keep track of all the characters.

The movie makes it very clear that it intends to ram a happy feeling down your throat, and if you're willing to accept that, you will enjoy this light-hearted movie. I caught a viewing of this from HBO a few weeks ago when feeling depressed over exams, and it cheered me up immensely.

Recommended viewing for the Christmas season. Not recommended if you are unlucky in love; if you are an eternal cynic; or, and, this is most important bit, if you are watching this during any period in time other than the Christmas season.

The Actors

Best cameo goes to Rowan Atkinson, who plays an incredibly fussy jewelry salesman and later on, as a traveler on a flight.

Billy Mack - Joe

Billy Mack, self-centered aging rocker, is recording a shitty album, and both he and his manager, Joe, know it.

BILLY: (singing) Come on, and let it snow! (stops singing) This is shit, isn't it?
JOE: Yep, solid gold shit, maestro!

Billy Mack and his manager Joe are the only two characters that aren't directly related to any of the other characters in any of the movie, though he does serve as inspiration for one of them (Sam).

BILLY: Oh come on, Mikey, you know as well as I do, the record's crap. But wouldn't be it great if number one this Christmas isn't some smug teenager but an old ex-heroin addict searching for a comeback at any price?

Mark - Peter and Juliet

The classic case of unrequited love. Mark's (Andrew Lincoln) best friend, Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is getting married to Juliet (Keira Knightley). As much as Mark would like to hide his secret, it doesn't last for very long.

David - Natalie

David (Hugh Grant) has just become the new Prime Minister. As the new leader, David's rather bizarrely full of vim and vigor, planning on making "big" changes. During his first day at work, he meets Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), a housekeeper. Unfortunately for the poor sod, Natalie is exactly his type of woman: sweet-faced, good-natured, dark-haired, and slightly larger than anorexically thin.

NATALIE: Hello David-- I mean, sir. Shit, I can't believe I just said that. (David laughs) And now I've gone and said shit. Twice. I'm so sorry, sir.
DAVID: It's fine, it's fine. You could've said "fuck" and we'd have been in real trouble.
NATALIE: (relieved) Thank you, sir, I had an awful premonition that I was going to fuck up on the first day. (realizes what she just said) Oh, piss it.

(after taking one last glance at her and meeting the rest of the staff, David enters his office and closes the door behind him, looking slightly depressed.)

DAVID: Oh no. That is so inconvenient.

Karen - Harry

Karen (Emma Thompson), the Prime Minister's sister, is a bit anxious as it is her brother as Prime Minister, but she doesn't worry too much about him. She does, after all, have her kids and her husband Harry (Alan Rickman) to worry about, not to mention there's Daniel, whose wife just died, poor thing. Despite that, she finds herself troubled that Harry is paying more attention to his co-worker, who makes it very clear that she's interested in Harry. However, it is Karen's nature to cope by being busy.

KAREN: So what's this big news, then?
DAISY: We've been given our parts in the nativity play... (Karen gasps) ...and I'm the lobster!
KAREN: ...the lobster?
DAISY: Yeah!
KAREN: In a nativity play?
DAISY: Yeah. First lobster.
KAREN: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?

Daniel - Sam

Daniel (Liam Neeson), coping with the death of his wife, is struggling to get his life together again. Concerned about the welfare of his stepson, Sam, he discovers that Sam's problem is quite agonising: Sam's in love.

DANIEL: It's someone at school, right?
SAM: (Nods) Yeah.
DANIEL: Good, good. And what does she -- he -- feel about ye?
SAM: She doesn't even know my name. And even if she did, she'd despise me. She's the coolest girl in school and everyone worships her because she's heaven.
DANIEL: Good. Good. (goes over to sit down) Well, basically, you're fucked, aren't you?

The most pressing problem is that Sam's dream girl, a girl named Joanna, is American, and going to fly back to the States soon. After watching a music video on the TV (Billy Mack, of course), Sam has a brilliant idea on how to win Joanna's heart. All girls like musicians, right? ("Even the weird ones get girlfriends.") So she would most definitely notice if Sam was a musician himself! However--

DANIEL: I think it's brilliant. I think it's stellar. Apart from the one, obvious, tiny little, baby little hiccup.
SAM: I don't play a musical instrument.
DANIEL: Yes, sir.
SAM: (dismissively) A tiny, insignificant detail.

Jamie Bennet - Aurelia

After finding out that his beloved girlfriend was cheating on him with his brother, Jamie Bennet (Colin Firth) goes away on his own to finish writing his book and eventually meets Aurelia (Lucia Moniz), his housekeeper for the time being. Despite their complete and total inability to communicate with each other (he speaks English; she speaks Portuguese), the two understand each other very well.

Sarah - Karl

Her story is best summed up in a conversation her boss, Harry, has with her:

SARAH: Hey Harry.
HARRY: Switch off your phone, and tell me, exactly-- (pulls up a chair for Sarah, and finds a chair for himself to sit in) --how long it is that you've been working here.
SARAH: (sits down, thinking) Two years... seven months... three days and I suppose, what, two hours?
HARRY: (gives Sarah a look) And how long have you been in love with Karl, our... enigmatic chief designer?
SARAH: (looking slightly stunned) .... um... Two years, seven months, three days and I suppose, an hour and thirty minutes.
HARRY: I thought as much.
SARAH: (anxious) Do you think everybody knows?
SARAH: (looking panicky now) Do you think Karl knows?
SARAH: Oh... that is... that is bad news.
HARRY: Well, I just thought that, maybe the time would come to do something about it.
SARAH: Like what?
HARRY: Invite him out for a drink, and then, after about twenty minutes, casually drop into the conversation the fact that you'd like to marry him and have lots of sex and babies.
SARAH: (stands up, shocked) You know that?
HARRY: Yes. (stands up to tower over her) And so does Karl. Think about it. For all our sakes. It's Christmas. (heads over to open his office door)
SARAH: Certainly. Excellent. Will do. Thanks, boss. (walks out to leave, and almost runs into Karl, the young enigmatic chief designer)

The only problem is that Sarah's cell phone always, always goes off, and like clockwork, Sarah answers it. The person on the phone is her brother, who is in a mental institution. As much as she'd like to pursue a relationship with Karl (Rodrigo Santoro), there are some things that she isn't willing to give up.

Note: I thought this story was sad. More than any other story in this movie. The other thing I want to say about this story is that Karl, the enigmatic chief designer, is serious eyecandy.

Colin Frissel

Poor Colin Frissel (Kris Marshall), desperately looking for a woman, any woman to hook up with. Unfortunately, his approach to women leaves much left to be desired, and after one particularly bad attempt with a caterer at a wedding, Colin has a revelation.

COLIN: I've just worked out why I can never find true love.
TONY: Why's that?
COLIN: English girls. They're stuck up, you see? And I am primarily attractive to girls who are, you know, cooler. Game for a laugh. Like American girls. So I should just go to America! I'd get a girlfriend there, instantly! What do you think?
TONY: I think it's... crap, Colin.
COLIN (shakes head violently): That's where you're wrong. American girls would seriously date me with my cute British accent.
TONY: You don't have a cute British accent!
COLIN: YES I DO! I'm going to America!
TONY: Colin, you're a lonely, ugly arsehole, and must accept it.
COLIN: Never. I am Colin, God of Sex. I'm just on the wrong continent, that's all.

Clearly, his only option is to purchase a ticket to the United States. And so he does, to a "fantastic place called Wisconsin," where there are apparently ten hot girls in every bar, just dying to get a piece of Colin Frissel.

COLIN: Stateside, I am Prince William, without the weird family.

What awaits him in Wisconsin?

Note: I had a friend who had a similar experience in Kentucky as Colin did in Wisconsin. He was rather put off at first but I think he warmed up to the experience in the end. I think. It's hard to say. What do you think?

John - Judy

John and Judy first meet while acting as body doubles in a film requiring what seems to be quite a number of sex scenes. For two people that get naked and on top of each other before they start talking, they get along incredibly well. Just about every scene with these two is hilarious, particularly when you contrast their conversations with their actions.

JOHN: I thought I was never gonna make it today. The traffic was just--
JOHN: --unbelievable! I know.
TONY: Judy, could you take off the top this time? Lighting and camera need to know when we're going to see the, um, nipples, and when we're not.
JUDY: Yes, okay, right. (turns to John) At least it's nice and warm in here.
JOHN: It's always the case, innit? So I was standing in for Brad Pitt in Seven Years in Tibet, right? (Judy nods) Bloody freezing--
TONY: (interrupting) Sorry guys, time's pretty tight, and we need to get the actors in.
JUDY: Fine. (begins to take off her top)
JOHN: I promise not to look. (Judy laughs and takes off her shirt, jacket, and bra and then goes to lean against the wall) Right. (John goes over and holds her hips, grinding against her, but is interrupted by Tony)
TONY: And Jerry says, can you put your hands on her breasts.
JOHN: Oh, right, okay. (turns to Judy) Is that okay?
JUDY: Yes, yeah, fine. (John blows air on his hands and rubs them together, in an attempt to warm his hands)
JOHN: I'm going to warn them up. (Judy laughs. He puts his hands on her breasts and starts to grind, but is interrupted by Tony again)
TONY: And massage them, please.
JOHN: (Nods) Right. (Goes back to grinding, this time, massaging her breasts nonchalantly) Y'know, junction 13 is just murder--
JUDY: Oh, I know!
JOHN: --total gridlock, this morning!

Actor list courtesy of IMDB.

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