or Friendship Actually or Forgiveness Actually or Puppy Love Actually etc. etc. Proof the love isn’t all we need. Coherence is required as well.

Hugh Grant is so spectacularly unconvincing as the Prime Minister of England that the willful suspension of disbelief upon which all good fiction rests is nigh impossible here. Of the viginettes which make up the film Love Actually his is by far the most outlandish as a result. That his story intertwines with that of Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson’s is in fact the only downside some very fine performances on the part of the latter two. Why they couldn’t have made the movie about their story alone, I have no idea. Colin Firth has a bit about love across the language divide that is implausible but enjoyable. Liam Neeson and a kid get buddy-buddy about the boy’s attempts to meet a girl. Nielsen is a fine actor and the kid is all right. Silly story and dialogue marr a lot of it, though.

And sadly, that’s what can be said about much of this film. Clearly the writer is capable of producing effective romantic comedy, but the result of running so many disparate stories is to waterdown each and to lose control over the all-important tone of the movie. I’m a big fan of the romantic comedy genre, and there are several good moments here. But there are plenty of weak ones as well. The scattershot approach of trying to show us that love is everywhere morphs into love is everything, which, actually, it decidedly is not. Not recommended.