Kate and Leopold is a squirmy new puppy: Full of love, laughter, and life, but fairly unintelligent and mainly concerned with where it should poop. No ma’am, I am not calling Meg Ryan a dog!
There’s nothing new here. It’s your standard Future Girl meets Prince Fromthepast. Prince Fromthepast sweeps Future Girl off her feet with his strange, chivalrous, charming ways and carries her back to Fromthepast Castle. And they all lived happily ever after. The End. In fact, it’s a plot so standard, that it’s the second time I’ve seen this story this year, in the failed and somewhat sillier, Christina Applegate remake of Just Visiting.
Yet, unlike the more wacky Just Visiting, Kate and Leopold sports a cast of legitimately talented performers. Hugh Jackman has proved time and time again an amazing ability to completely transform himself into the most unlikely of characters, this is no exception. Unlike male actors, Hollywood actresses have a finite window in which to achieve success. This is quite probably unfair, and most likely deprives us of a great deal of post-menopausal acting talent. However, much like her leading lady competitor Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan is quickly heading towards the end of the line. But still, she delivers loads of that cutsie, hopeless romantic charm that has given her such a big niche in the hearts of movie going romance lovers.
On the other hand, just like that little puppy, Kate and Leopold isn’t particularly smart. Those not hopelessly lost in the seditious web of romance and charm it weaves will be quick to note the utter absurdity of the film itself. Viewers are frequently confronted with the poorly thought out constructs of an even more poorly thought out film. Personally, I find it confounding to understand how even the smartest 19th century Duke could manage to get along so well in the modern mean streets of New York, let alone understand the intricacies of 4th dimensional time travel theories. The guy invented the elevator, not the freakin flux-capacitor.
Despite it’s glaring inconsistencies, Kate and Leopold is by far one of the most entertaining and endearing romantic comedies of the year. Unlike other romantic fare, which so often seems to focus on psychotic bitches and jigalo jacks, Kate and Leopold presents audiences with two likable, well-meaning characters people can actually root for. Jackman is a crowd pleaser and Ryan still has all her cute cards all in a row.
Kate and Leopold may occasionally miss the newspapers, but it has the heart and soul of a good-natured champion. Best in show? Probably not, unless you want a great way to weaken the knees of your Friday night date.