|"Kate and Leopold" Movie Review|
Meg Ryan can add another notch to her romantic comedy belt with the delightfully fun, though thoroughly implausible, "Kate and Leopold." Moviegoers should check reason and logic at the door, and prepare for a thoroughly enchanting romp with two dynamic leading actors. The onscreen teaming of Meg Ryan (Kate) and Hugh Jackman (Leopold) pulsates with electricity, their performances perfectly complimenting each other and guiding the film smoothly above its rocky premise.
Kate is a modern career woman whose job as a market researcher seems to have sapped the very spirit from her soul. Leopold is the Third Duke of Albany, rich in title but poor of pocket. Kate's eccentric ex-boyfriend - and upstairs neighbor - Stuart (Live Schreiber) discovers how to travel back in time to 19th Century where he sneaks a peek at Leopold, his ancestor who will, in time, invent the elevator. Leopold catches Stuart clicking away with his little spy camera and chases him down, falling with him through the time portal and landing in 2001. Waking from his time travel feeling disoriented, Leopold listens incredulously as Stuart describes, unconvincingly, how he leaped forward to 2001. Stuart does an equally unconvincing job at making Kate believe Leopold is from the past. Kate is a no-nonsense, shoot from the hip, businesswoman who has no time for time travel silliness. Leopold realizes he's not in Kansas anymore, but can't fathom where - or when - he is.
Leopold's journeys outside the apartment and onto the streets of Stuart and Kate's New York neighborhood is deliciously funny; his encounter with a policewoman, and his comments on the erection of a bridge (the "erection" joke turns up many times throughout the film) highlight his dog-walking adventure. Breckin Meyer adds comic relief as Kate's out of work younger brother, Charlie, who looks up to Leopold (who he believes is a classically trained actor who refuses to come out of character) for acting tips. Leopold teaches Charlie important tips about wooing women, and Charlie, in turn, tweaks Leopold's 100-year-old dating skills to advance his relationship with Kate.
Though unbelievable and fairly predictable, "Kate and Leopold" is a perfect date movie. Some may see it as strictly a "chick flick," but men will relate to the trials and tribulations of relationships - even if the relationship portrayed is far from realistic. Ryan is terrific as the unwilling object of Leopold's affections and Jackman's performance will interest women while not alienating men. As the charming 19th Century Duke, Jackman mixes class and comedy and delivers a thoroughly enjoyable performance. Jackman is becoming a romantic leading man to be reckoned with. His onscreen presence is so commanding, so entertaining, he's sure to win over a lot of women who know him only as the hairy guy in the "X-Men" or from the critically panned Ashley Judd film, "Someone Like You."
Overall Grade: B