What I'm trying to say is ...
shareclose share

40 - Love (Actually)

Joe Baron
2nd June 2017

15 rating



"40 - Love (Actually)" … I know. I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking of an amusing if somewhat clichéd film of middle aged romance written by Richard Curtis, starring lots of adorable British people named Hugh. A film littered with references to The Spice Girls, The Union Jack, red buses, black taxi cabs, The Queen, The Beatles, Brit Pop, David Beckham, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and the BBC, accompanied by the odd polite sprinkling of the words 'shag', 'bugger', 'bloody', 'wanker', and 'bollocks', both for mild comedic effect, and to continue to make the American's believe that English people actually talk like that. Or in short, you're just thinking - Oh please, no. Not another British rom com.

Austin Powers - Great Intro!Click the photos for fun links ...

But this one's different. There's Hugh Number 1, Hugh Grunt. A shy lovable middle aged floppy haired toff, with droopy eyes, deck shoes, a sad smile, and an unfortunate prostitute habit from his past that just won't stay buried ...

It's not what it looks like officer ...

In the film, Grunt has inexplicably managed to afford a massive multi story apartment in a hugely expensive area of London despite only working part time in a remote second hand bookshop that has next to no customers. He has a flat mate, although he appears to work even less? We'll get to him later. A seemingly acceptable paradox in all British films. House prices? What are they? Even Doctor Who's taken off his fez to scratch his head over this one ...

Notting Hill house prices

Grunt inadvertently falls in love after actually managing to sell a tour guide to a random lost visitor one day. Assuming she was just a young pretty foreign woman, with unusually attractive muscle tone in her strong athletic legs, the interaction was enough to encourage Grunt into the all too common middle aged trap of believing that this innocent exchange might actually enable him to have sexual intercourse with her some day ...

She had the kind of legs you'd like to suck on for a day ...

Then there's Hugh number 2, real life Welsh news reader Huw Edwards, appearing only momentarily as himself in a BBC News report on Grunt's small tv in his massive apartment. His part only exists to make Grunt aware of the fact that the young pretty foreign woman, with unusually attractive muscle tone in her strong athletic legs, is actually, a world famous tennis star! This made Grunt feel angry, as despite his good head start, now he felt there was absolutely no probability of copulation occurring between himself and the nubile little bit at all ...

Huws at 10

Cue Hugh Number 3, Huw Jerection. Grunt's skinny pot bellied comedy Welsh flat mate that runs around awkwardly in his piss stained Y-fronts wearing all manner of snorkels and flippers, ensuring that Grunt is never angry for too long. Never seems to work, yet can afford Notting Hill rates on top property? Lucky Grunt ...

Spike Notting Hill

Fortunately for Grunt, as the film progresses, he and the pretty woman tennis star cross paths at 4 funerals and a wedding, of mutual friends in Notting Hill, who were deeply in love, actually. As chance would have it, there was a surprisingly star studded guest list at these gatherings, including Edmund Blackadder from Blackadder, Brian Mills from Taken, Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead, Elizabeth Swann from Pirates Of The Caribbean, Rab C Nesbitt, and the step dad, Phillip, from Shaun Of The Dead. As you can imagine, this leads to several heavily contrived comedy circumstances.

Rowan Atkinson priest - Very Funny!

As their various chance meetings and humorous dramas allow their unlikely friendship to blossom over time, Grunt's mood improves greatly. He begins to feel the young pretty foreign woman, with unusually attractive muscle tone in her strong athletic legs, is finally warming to him. Despite the huge differences in their occupations, age, lifestyle, finances, and genetic level of physical attractiveness, they were getting on so well. Grunt once again begins to believe that there is hope. There's always hope. And there's always love. And where there is love - unexpected things can happen. Love has no boundaries (except a small matter of mutual consent). It transcends everything (erm consent?). It conquers all (again, consent!). And this was a Richard Curtis rom com film in which Grunt was the lead, so selling her that travel guide couldn't possibly have just been a chance coincidence. It had to mean something. He had to take a risk. When love arrives, you have to grab hold of it with both hands and never let go. You may never find it again. Life is just too short. You don't get a second run at it. He had to give it a shot. He had to go for it. After all, what had he got to lose? When you break it down thought Grunt, she was still just a girl, standing in front of a middle aged man, asking him to have sex with her. What could possibly go wrong ? ...

Also just a girl. Standing in front of a boy. Asking him to love her.

Finally getting together at the end of the film, Grunt and the foreign tennis star lock lips and embrace in torrential rain that no one notices.

Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed.

As their lips and bodies collide, with Grunt imagining all the things he will finally get to do to her tight compact little body, like an unwanted leprechaun, Ronan Keating appears out of no where and bursts into irish song, quite rightfully informing them, that their acting is significantly better when they say nothing at all. Funny, I've often thought the same about Ronan's singing ...

Ronan Keating Short - Naked Gun - Big Al

The film ends with Grunt getting taken away in an ambulance before being arrested for multiple accounts of sexual assault, after receiving an almighty beating, getting kneed, kicked, and stomped on, by the young tennis players immensely powerful athletic legs. She really did have very strong legs. And a feisty temper. Surprisingly so for such a cute little package. He was really quite badly injured.

Love really can make unexpected things happen - like a good kicking!

Turns out he read the signals completely wrong. Turns out the young, attractive, successful, wealthy tennis star with great legs, wasn't sexually interested in an under achieving, average looking, flabby, middle aged man who lived with a guy that spent all day wondering around in his y-fronts smelling of piss. The friendship was there, although obviously not anymore, but that was all. The rest was all in his own head. And that is love, actually, Mr Curtis.

Who would have thought it eh? Who was the idiot that said age was just a number? Either they had been watching way too many Roger Moore Bond films, or they had clearly over looked one very important thing ... Numbers do actually matter! Middle age can be so cruel ...

Roger Moore - Lovers Lessons ...

Oh, and I nearly forgot about Hugh Number 4. The one and only Hugh Bonneville, who can be seen excitedly waving his arms around in the background declaring 'bloody hell this is fun!' every few minutes or so, all to help serve to remind us that cor blimey guv'nor, this is actually, a British film after all. As if it wasn't already obvious enough ...

Hugh Bonneville funny

You see ... I told you I knew exactly what you were thinking when you read the title of this article didn't I? I know, it's uncanny, but although I can see why you might have thought that, that's not actually what this article is about at all. It's actually much simpler than that.





Basically, I'm fast approaching 40 myself. Lying on my bed, the sun shining brightly in the deep blue sky outside, with the smell of freshly cut grass and the sounds of tweeting birds and distant lawnmowers traveling in through my open window, I was pleasantly surprised to find good coverage of The French Open on ITV4 as I switched on my bedroom tv. Boring I know, but I did mention that I'm approaching middle age. Warm, secure, relaxed feelings suddenly sprang to the fore front of my mind that reminded me just how much I love this time of year. I was quite happy to forget the world and while away a couple of hours, just watching the hard working players in their brightly coloured outfits, slide and scramble passionately across the sun drenched orange clay of Roland Garros. Most of them happy, just striving to even get the chance to get close to the goals and dreams of their childhood, that they have refused to give up on over the years. Great stuff. Such respect I have for all them for not giving up and continuing to try. That's what matters.





I guess what I'm trying to say is, that the 40 in the title, actually, is me. And the Love in the title, actually, is my love of the feelings you get that only the start of a British Summer can bring. Add tennis, and it's a combination that sits well with me. It leaves a good feeling. But if I just wrote that, it would have been a really boring short article wouldn't it? So I took the chance to slip some best of British in there as well. You know, keeping the British end up as they say. And why not? After all, it too carries a distinctive feel good charm all of its own ...

Roger Moore - Keeping the British End Up Sir!