Kate And Leopold

There are a few certainties in life; The Great Escape being shown on TV during Christmas, death and Meg Ryan starring in romantic comedies. In Kate And Leopold, she plays a shaggy-haired, perky, adorably neurotic, modern woman who cannot find the right guy.........again. The only saving grace is Hugh Jackman and a little spin on time travel.

We start with Stuart (Liev Schreiber) chuckling at the use of the word erection during a speech being made in 1876. He's spotted by a wealthy duke, Leopold (Hugh Jackman), who later in the evening manages to accidentally follow Stuart through a rip in the fabric of time, landing him in modern Manhattan.

It turns out that Stuart had discovered the time portal and has been using it. Also it transpires that Leopold is his great-great grandfather, who invented the elevator. As a result of Stuarts' interference with time, elevators are beginning to disappear and will continue to do so, unless Leopold can get back to his own time (and invent them obviously).

Unfortunately Stuart found out about elevators the hard way - by falling down the empty hole where one should have been. So he's duly whisked away to hospital. This the leaves Leopold to work out the modern world, and with the assistance of Kate's little brother Charlie (Breckin Meyer) tackles the 21st century. Kate (the aforementioned Meg Ryan) is an advertising executive, who doesn't really like her job and is the ex-girlfriend of Stuart.

As Leopold faces up to the realities of New York and its inhabitants, Stuart has landed himself in a mental asylum due to his babblings about time travel. Meanwhile Leopold teaches Charlie the values of being a gentleman, and after showing his chivalrous side to Kate manages to land himself an advertising job in a Farmer's Bounty commercial.

Unfortunately Kate doesn't believe Leopold to be whom he says, thinking he's an actor in character all the time. However, his charms are beginning to work on her and when he refuses to do a commercial due to his morals, Kate is forced to look at her own un-moralistic employment.

With the deadline for the portal opening again looming ever closer, can Stuart get out of the asylum and in touch with Leopold in time to travel through and will Leopold be willing to leave Kate and return to his own time?

It comes a no surprise whatsoever that Kate and Leopold end up together. After all it's a romantic comedy not a thriller. The plot is contrived and generated for the mass audiences without any real thought to it. Every thing is too easy; Leopold adjusts to current day Manhattan too easily and Kate falls for his Old World charms too easily. Some characters are mismatched, especially Stuart and Kate - who are so mismatched one wonders how they ever got together in the past and more importantly why they stayed such good friends?

A lot of the film feels like filler - it lacks the charms or humour that is necessary for a romantic comedy. Meg grins and ambles her way through the movie, she has done this role so many times now. This doesn't stop her playing Sally to someone Harry again. Only Hugh Jackman can hold his head up and plays Leopold with a debonair grace about him.

Overall, Kate And Leopold is a very run-of-the-mill film. A little too thin on the romance and comedy, it might appeal to diehard fans of the genre but that's about it. The only really interesting thing is if Stuart was Kate's ex-boyfriend, hasn't he been knobbing his great-great grandmother during those five years they were together?

SCORE 5/10