The end of the holiday season means the end of the annual wave of “I hate Love Actually” tweets and essays. That’s good, because while I have no great love for Love Actually, I do have a soft spot for its creator, Richard Curtis, who wrote some of the smartest, warmest British comedies of the 1990s. With 1994’s sleeper smash Four Weddings And A Funeral, Curtis found sympathetic collaborators in director Mike Newell and star Hugh Grant, both of whom bring the right mix of breeziness and melancholy to Curtis’ story of a group of well-educated, well-to-do chums who are approaching middle age and wondering if they should start taking life more seriously. Arriving in the middle of an era of mannered Merchant-Ivory period pieces, Four Weddings And A Funeral offered an alternative fantasy version of UK society: one where everyone is erudite and glamorous, but also a little fumbly and confused. Grant gives a career-defining performance as a man who discovers the difference between friendship and love; and he’s ably supported by the likes of Kristin Scott Thomas (before she got all serious), Simon Callow, and a heartbreaking John Hannah. Four Weddings And A Funeral is the ideal of a Richard Curtis film, with a great ensemble and easy shifts between farce and pathos. It airs on HDNet Movies tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, and again at 10:35.
January 12, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day