Film review: How to Make Love Like an Englishman featuring Pierce Brosnan does not make the sparks fly
Not even 007 could save this film from floundering with its unimaginative script and weak narrative
If this is, indeed, how an Englishman makes love, Pierce Brosnan isn’t setting a stellar example for anyone. Also titled Some Kind of Beautiful in some territories, this rom-com by Tom Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas) is so hackneyed it might be more fun counting the cliches than cheering for its male lead, now stranded light years away from his former James Bond glow.
In a remarkably weak narrative that audaciously promises to subvert the stereotypes early and then forgets its purpose after minutes, Brosnan plays Richard, a Cambridge literature professor who preaches the relevance of Romantic poets in classes and plays the suave chauvinist with his steady stream of undergraduate flings after school.
Predictably enough, the American student Kate (Jessica Alba) announces she’s pregnant – though this doesn’t happen before the bachelor has openly flirted with budding novelist Olivia (Salma Hayek) without knowing she’s Kate’s sister. As Richard struggles mightily to fit himself into married life in California and his new wife quickly loses interest, there’s no doubt where this story is heading.
As the young conquest who in turn compels Richard to settle down, Alba is wasted in a one-note character who’s just required to look annoyed or disinterested. And while Hayek is given leading-lady status, her frenzied part is trapped by one inept joke after another, jumping naked into a pool to avoid being caught in one scene and mimicking men’s orgasms in an elementary school in another.
The film tries to pin Richard’s misdemeanours on the bad influence of his misanthropic father (a foul-mouthed Malcolm McDowell), but that subplot gets nowhere, either morally or emotionally. As the misogynist father expectedly learns the errors of his way and his “ageing Lothario” son comes to finally date an age-appropriate woman, Englishman flounders under its thoroughly unimaginative script.
How to Make Love Like an Englishman opens on September 3