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Opposites don't just attract - they hilariously banter, fuss, feud and collide when Sandra Bullock plays an activist lawyer and Hugh Grant is the eccentric tycoon who hires her in this romantic-comedy romp from the writer of Miss Congeniality.

Marc Lawrence
Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Alicia Witt, Robert Klein, Dana Ivey
Writing Credits:
Marc Lawrence

Over. Done. Finished. A comedy about love at last glance.
Box Office:
Opening weekend $14.328 million on 2755 screens.
Domestic gross $93.241 million.
Rated PG-13 for some sex-related humor.

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
English, French, Spanish

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 4/29/2003

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Marc Lawrence, Producer/Actor Sandra Bullock and Actor Hugh Grant
• “Two Bleeps Notice” Branching Outtakes
• “HBO First Look: The Making of Two Weeks Notice
• Additional Scenes
• Cast and Crew
• Trailer

Score soundtrack
Search Titles:

Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 17, 2003)

Any movie that starts with a succession of cute childhood-era photos of its leads begins on a bad note. Admittedly, Two Weeks Notice does so in order to set up the personalities of its main characters. We see Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) as a young liberal and watch as George Wade (Hugh Grant) leads the life of a spoiled rich boy.

These personality characteristics become abundantly clear within about five minutes after the opening credits end, so the photo montage just seems like a cheesy gimmick. Happily, however, the movie does improve somewhat from there. It remains spotty but Notice has its moments.

When we first meet adult Lucy, we learn that she’s a crusading lawyer who wants to halt the destruction of a landmark Brooklyn theater about to go under the Wade Corporation wrecking ball. She loses this battle and goes to jail, where her like-minded parents (Robert Klein and Dana Ivey) bail her out for the umpteenth time.

When the Wade organization targets a Coney Island community center for destruction, Lucy seeks out George in person to plead her case. In the meantime, he’s run into lawyer trouble. It seems that he hires female attorneys based on their physical attributes and not their legal prowess, and they’ve not done useful work for him. His brother Howard (David Haig) – the brains behind the operation – orders George to acquire more competent counsel. When George encounters Lucy, he quickly decides that she meets all relevant criteria in regard to both looks and talent, so he offers her the gig. She initially shows no interest, but when he promises to save the community center if she comes on board, she agrees to work for him.

From there we watch her life as his gal Friday. Over a period of months, Lucy becomes George’s closest advisor, and not just for legal issues; he forces her to deal with many personal concerns as well. Lucy hits the proverbial wall when he interrupts the wedding of her friend Meryl (Heather Burns) with an “emergency”: he needs advice on which suit to wear.

Lucy submits her titular declaration of resignation, but she soon realizes that it won’t be all that easy to leave. George uses his connections to ensure other companies won’t hire her. She attempts to become so incompetent that he’ll fire her, but George sees through her ruse. Eventually he agrees to let her go when they find a replacement.

This occurs when a fellow Harvard grad named June Carver (Alicia Witt) struts into Lucy’s office. Another sexy and brainy lawyer, George quickly warms up to June. After this, Lucy starts to feel left out in the cold, especially since she clearly feels enamored toward George, even if she won’t recognize this in herself.

From there, Notice follows the burgeoning love triangle and also goes through some drama related to George’s commitment in regard to the community center. The film also loses much of its charm. Despite the groan-inducing kiddie photo montage at the start of the movie, Notice manifests some entertaining moments during its first half. Most of this occurs due to the efforts of its leads. Neither Grant nor Bullock stretch their talents to the slightest degree. They’ve both played very similar roles in the past, and virtually nothing about either George or Lucy forces them to break a sweat.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, for at least the actors allow Notice to enjoy a certain easy charm. They don’t show the greatest chemistry together, but they turn potentially unlikable characters into lively and warm personalities. Grant makes some bland material funny with his semi-quirky line readings; I’m especially fond of the way he says “Mild Duds”. Bullock gets the tougher role of the pair, as Lucy easily could have seemed strident and shrill, especially during her early protest sequences. That we never feel annoyed at her pays tribute to Bullock’s warmth and talent.

Unfortunately, the dual charm of the leads can only go so far, and Notice really starts to turn sour during its last half. It doesn’t help that the movie’s ending never seems in doubt. The subplots with the community center and June feel contrived and forced; they come across as if they exist solely to pad out the film’s running time and add some fake drama. Other scenes also appear totally extraneous and out of place. One involves Lucy’s intestinal distress and works like something from Dumb and Dumber. It has nothing to do with the story and doesn’t fit this movie in the least.

First-time director Marc Lawrence doesn’t seem to be able to come up with anything fresh or inventive to spark the film. He even relies on badly overused songs like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Respect” to pep up the flick. This tactic doesn’t work.

I don’t want to convey that I actively disliked Two Weeks Notice, for I didn’t. The movie offers some amusing and entertaining moments, largely due to the charms of its performers. However, the predictable story goes nowhere and the plot’s ponderous pacing for its final hour makes it tough to take at times. Chalk up Notice as a very average romantic comedy.

The DVD Grades: Picture B- / Audio B- / Bonus B-

Two Weeks Notice appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A generally attractive picture, Notice nonetheless displayed a few more flaws than I expected.

One issue stemmed from sharpness. Most of the movie came across as reasonably distinct and accurate. However, softness cropped up too frequently. More than a few scenes seemed moderately ill defined and tentative. No problems related to jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, but I noticed definite indications of edge enhancement periodically throughout the flick. Some artifacting also appeared, but source defects were minimal; other than a few bits of a grit and an odd streak fairly early in the movie, the image remained clean.

With a fairly natural palette, I thought the hues of Notice looked fine but unexceptional. The movie occasionally exhibited some bright colors, and these remained reasonably crisp and concise. However, I rarely felt they displayed the brilliance I expected. They were good but never better than that. Blacks also came across with nice depth but nothing stronger, while low-light sequences demonstrated acceptable clarity and openness. Overall, Two Weeks Notice offered a lot of very attractive sequences. Unfortunately, a mix of lower quality scenes dragged my score down to a “B-“.

While the picture lost points due to various flaws, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Two Weeks Notice was a dud mainly because it lacked sonic ambition. I don’t expect this sort of romantic comedy to give me something to show off my system, but the soundfield for Notice seemed awfully lackluster nonetheless. The front channels heavily dominated the piece, and they only sporadically offered much life of their own. Music provided pretty good stereo imaging, but effects didn’t spread out all that well. The occasional example of effects popped up on the side, and little more occurred in this subdued piece.

In regard to the surrounds, I suppose they added some light reinforcement of the music and effects. However, I felt hard-pressed to cite any examples where I definitely noticed audio from the rear. If support occurred, it remained essentially unnoticeable. Even the film’s smattering of opportunities for greater audio enhancement passed limply. The Mets game and a thunderstorm continued the front-heavy sound and seemed curiously flat.

Although the scope of the track appeared bland, the quality of the audio was fine. Speech came across as concise and well defined. I discerned no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Music showed good range and dynamics, as the score was bright and distinct throughout the movie. Despite their small role in the presentation, effects also seemed clean and accurate. The mix featured acceptable bass response and clarity overall. It simply failed to ever present an engaging soundfield, so it earned only a lackluster “B-“.

The collection of extras found on Two Weeks Notice opens with an audio commentary from writer/director Marc Lawrence, producer/actor Sandra Bullock, and actor Hugh Grant. All three sat together for this running, screen-specific piece. Bullock and Lawrence previously did a commentary together for 2000’s Miss Congeniality. If you listened to that track, you’ll know what to expect from this breezy but largely uninformative discussion.

Despite the addition of Grant to the mix, the commentary for Notice demonstrates the same tendencies heard during Congeniality. Actually, it differs in one significant way: Bullock seems to speak less frequently here. Grant and Lawrence dominate, and Bullock occasionally appears a little lost in the mix. That’s a shame, for she demonstrated her wit and personality nicely on the Congeniality track.

Here Grant launches most of the zingers, and Bullock gets in a few cracks as well. Lawrence good-naturedly takes some abuse, though the participants also mock themselves as well. Grant often comments upon his own allegedly poor work, and the trio fail to take themselves too seriously during this light and witty piece.

Unfortunately, they also don’t tell us much about the movie. Occasionally we discover some insight into the filmmaking process, but this occurs rarely. For the most part, we only get real data when Lawrence reads one of the smattering of questions prepared for him by someone else, and even then the stars tend to shrug off the queries with gags. The commentary seems entertaining enough to merit a listen, but don’t expect to learn much about the film.

A branching feature, Two Bleeps Notice provides an unusual way to access some bloopers. With this activated, a heart icon periodically pops up on-screen. Hit “enter” and you’ll see brief shots of the actors’ mistakes. Most of these seem banal, but Grant’s creative profanity such as “wanky tit basket” makes the clip at the start of chapter eight entertaining.

As for the presentation, it offers something clever but a little intrusive. On the positive side, the bloopers always connect to the scene from which they branch. This lets us actively observe exactly what the actors botched. Unfortunately, this also breaks the flow of the movie and becomes something of a hassle since the flub clips are so short; none of them last more than about 45 seconds. It’s a fun option, but the DVD also should include the bloopers separately for more convenient access.

A typically dull HBO First Look special appears next. “The Making of Two Weeks Notice” offers little material of the sort implied in its title. It provides the usual conglomeration of movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. In the latter category, we hear from Lawrence, Bullock, Grant, and actors Alicia Witt and Dana Ivey. The vast majority of the 13-minute program simply consists of film snippets. The interviews mostly just tell us basic plot and character points; they reveal almost nothing of interest about the flick’s creation, though we do get some amusing notes about Lawrence’s alleged hypochondria. Otherwise, this “First Look” is a near-total dud.

The two Additional Scenes seem more interesting. “Wedding” runs three minutes, 53 seconds, while “Lucy and Meryl Jogging” goes for two minutes and 37 seconds. An alternate ending, “Wedding” provides the more compelling of the pair. “Jogging” expands Meryl’s character slightly but doesn’t add much to the package otherwise. Still, I welcome all potential chances to eye the lovely Heather Burns, so “Jogging” comes as a welcome addition.

Finally, the DVD tosses in the film’s theatrical trailer plus a Cast & Crew section. This area includes “Film Highlights” for Bullock, Grant and Lawrence, and simply lists actors Witt, Ivey, Klein, and Burns. We get no actual information about the last four.

Anyone with a desire to see a creative and original romantic comedy should steer clear from the utterly predictable Two Weeks Notice. However, fans of the genre could do worse, mainly thanks to the charm of its actors. The DVD seems lackluster, however, as it presents picture and sound that rarely appear much above average. Add to that a similarly ho-hum set of extras and Notice fails to stand out as a DVD. The film makes for a decent date night rental but not much more than that.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1142 Stars Number of Votes: 35
4 3:
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