From the desk of The Movie Snob
Last Chance Harvey (B-). A jingle-writer/would-be jazz pianist is going to London for his daughter’s wedding. He is none too close to his daughter, not to mention his ex-wife and her successful and handsome second husband. While in London, he chances to meet a woman who has never been married, spends most of her free time with or on the phone with her divorced mother, and has more or less sealed herself off from life. Things unspool from there. There were things I liked and things I didn’t about this breezy little 92-minute movie. I have never cared much for Dustin Hoffman (Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium), and so I found the lead character difficult to like. Emma Thompson (Dead Again), on the other hand, is a pleasure to watch as the Londoner that Hoffman’s character meets. I really liked the various wedding-related scenes, especially the reception. It is sort of a cliché to film a scene of a wedding dinner or reception in which a character threatens to ruin everything with an inappropriate impromptu speech, but this movie does it deftly. I guess my main beef with this and similar movies is the astronomical unlikeliness of two strangers meeting by chance, spending just a little time together, and getting convinced almost immediately that they’ve discovered a soulmate. I’d be tempted to say it never happens, but the Borg Queen reminded me of an acquaintance of ours to whom something reasonably similar did happen. Still, it’s got to be rarer than Hollywood makes it out to be.