Directed by: Marc Lawrence
Written by:Marc Lawrence
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Alicia Witt, Dana Ivey, Robert Klein, Heather Burns
Released: January 1, 2003
Grade: B

With hundreds of films released every week, it’s hard to develop a distinctive poster to promote a movie.  Usually, it comes back to the same familiar designs.  Knowing very little about the movie itself, the intriguing poster for Two Weeks Notice wet my appetite for a film I’d usually pass over.  If you’ve seen it, Sandra Bullock’s face is featured in the left foreground with Hugh Grant’s face, to the right, looking over her shoulder.  Hugh has a beaming smile whereas Sandra looks forlorn and disinterested.  Why?  I may be the only one, but it’s a distinctive poster to promote a romantic comedy.

Having seen the film, I can tell you that Mr Grant plays George Wade, a multi-millionaire living in New York City.  His companies, which he owns with his brother, are a city leader in construction.  He lives in a luxurious suite atop The Grand Hotel, which he also owns.  His business success seems inversely related to his romantic successes.  Divorced more than once, he has a habit of hiring female staff purely on looks.  This formula has forced him to let many staff go due to incompetence (but not before sleeping with them).

Ms Bullock is Lucy Kelson, an attorney who likes fighting for social causes.  She’s always performing legal aid but gets little financial reward herself.  Lucy also fights to keep many of New York landmark buildings and save them from demolition.  Most of these buildings have been bought by Wade’s corporations and redeveloped into apartments and other such inferior replacements.

When the local community centre is marked for destruction, Lucy heads to George’s office for a confrontation.  But it so happens, that George has just fired his legal adviser and on his brother’s advice, is looking for someone with intelligence this time.  Two and two come together, George convinces the reluctant Lucy to work for him and in return, he guarantees the community centre will remain intact.

Working for George turns out to be much more demanding than Lucy anticipated.  It’s not that he’s a slave driver, but becomes increasingly reliant on Lucy’s advice for everything.  He’ll call at 2am in the morning for a chat.  He’ll call her out of a best friend’s wedding to ask what clothes he should wear.  He’ll use her to write all his speeches.  It’s a “seven days a week, 18 hours a day” job and something’s gotta give.  So Lucy hands in her two weeks notice and the subliminal romantic tension between them looks set to boil over.

Overall, it’s a bland romantic comedy that is difficult to become deeply involved in.  Despite the obviously intentions to have the audience like him, I found George Wade to be nothing more than a snobby rich playboy.  There’s little leeway in Lucy’s character either – she’s the ultimate nice-girl who we are forced to feel sorry for because her lack of trust has seen her remain single.  It’s very black and white.

As a plus, it is a nice choice of role for Sandra Bullock.  Always criticised (by me), she gives some life to her cardboard character.  The dialogue is written by Marc Lawrence, who has written for Bullock before in Miss Congeniality and Forces Of Nature.  In the director’s chair for the first time, Lawrence makes sure we don’t miss the New York setting with many (probably too many) glorious fly-overs and panoramic background vistas.  If you can’t tell, we’re leaning towards schmaltzy chick-flick territory.  Perhaps the poster might have been more appropriate if it was Bullock was smiling and Grant was disinterested.  A more realistic impression of an audience’s reaction.