Scriptwriter/director Marc Lawrence revisits the familiar territory of romantic comedies, after writing the script for the forgettable Forces of Nature and the commercial box office success "Miss Congeniality". With a stellar leading cast, one would expect "Two Weeks Notice" to be a surefire success. However, it takes one of the oldest romantic clichés - opposites attract, without really adding a spark of originality.
Firebrand idealist Lucy Kelsen (Sandra Bullock) devotes her life to lost causes such as saving heritage buildings, but she continually finds herself up against the mighty wall of the monolithic Wade Corporation. The community centre of Kelsen’s native Coney Island is the next target of the ruthless enterprise. Desperate to save her community centre, Kelsen accosts George Wade (Hugh Grant), the playboy millionaire real estate developer. A rather fortuitous occurrence for the philandering Wade on the look out for a legal adviser who can put together a brief as opposed to undoing his briefs. Like most of his projects, Wade bulldozes his way through Kelsen’s impassioned speeches, by making an offer she can't refuse - if she consents to be his legal adviser, he will spare her community centre.
Several months later, Kelsen finds herself hopelessly tied up with not only Wade’s professional affairs but also his personal life- should he choose the pinstripe or the patterned tie? Disillusioned that she is no longer living up to her ideals, Kelsen hands in her two weeks’ notice. Suddenly the purely professional rapport Kelsen and Wade share turns into a romantic interest, simply because the director/scriptwriter Marc Lawrence has promised us a romantic comedy.
That Bullock and Grant share a chemistry cannot be denied but unfortunately the characters they play don’t. While the script has its share of witty one-liners, it doesn’t really develop the relationship between the two actors and therefore fails to convince. Kelsen only seems to fall in love with Wade when she perceives a threat from her replacement (Alicia Witt). There’s never any real conflict of ideology between the conservative capitalist and the radical liberal. Even when they have their showdown you can’t help thinking Wade has the upper hand - Kelsen is just far too emotionally cold for such a passionate idealist.
Bullock is once again typecast as a super smart but klutzy woman and this prevents her from reaching her comic potential. It’s almost as though all her lines are rehearsed before hand, which makes her too perfect to be likeable in spite of her minor personality tics. Hugh Grant plays the role of the playboy millionaire but this time he shows a heart of gold. Even when he has to deliver a hopelessly soppy speech he manages to inject just the right amount of effortless charm and humour to win the audience over.This article was first published on 21 Feb 2003.