Wimbledon

"Very Good"

Wimbledon Review


Unless you play the sport, tennis ranks right up there with golf as one of the most boring sports to watch on television. And with a few minor exceptions, the same can be said about these sports' big screen counterparts. Anticipating that Wimbledon would serve up little more than a predictable romantic comedy, I hoped the film's setting would provide a few more aces than foot faults to compensate. Much to my surprise, Wimbledon exceeds meager expectations.

As the world's 119th ranked player, a tired Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) has long been the doormat for the younger, flashier players on the professional tennis circuit. But when Peter gets an unexpected wild-card invite to play at Wimbledon, few give him any chance of making it out of the first round - including himself and his brother who wagers against him with a local bookie.

Making waves at this year's Wimbledon is the hot, young American sensation Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst). On the court, she's in top form, and focused to win yet another championship (think Serena Williams). Off the court, Lizzie (think Anna Kournikova with better diction skills) likes to party and have much more fun than her coddling father (Sam Neill) would like.

An immediate connection is formed between these tennis opposites when both end up with keys to the same hotel room. Peter loses the room, but with Lizzie, gains the inspirational boost he needs to turn his life and game around. Suddenly, Peter starts winning the tennis matches he's supposed to lose, and he quickly becomes the sentimental favorite of Londoners. Off the court, the unlikely pair is seen strolling through the streets of London, jogging along the coast, and avoiding her father and the gossip hungry press.

Lizzie and Peter look great together, but how do they have time for all these activities off the court? Based on the film's uneven pacing, you'd think Wimbledon lasts for months, not a few weeks. Also, I find it hard to believe that anyone ranked as high as Lizzie would even know, let alone give the time of day to, someone like Peter. Lizzie's character is so narrowly drawn that we're never really sure what she wants, or why she's with him. As the world's top female player, you'd think she could do better than this chump.

Fortunately for Wimbledon, there's plenty of great supporting material that helps mitigate these objections. To give the film a more authentic look, the tennis scenes were actually filmed at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club during the 2003 Wimbledon Championships. Under the eye of former Wimbledon champ Pat Cash, the tennis strokes are pitch perfect. Director Richard Loncraine successfully employs a variety of CGI effects and camera trickery inspired by TV commercial work to make the tennis matches look far more appealing and exciting than ever before.

Wimbledon is also backed by solid casting. Bettany (Master and Commander) gives Peter an affecting charisma that allows us to easily identify with his fears and desires. Dunst's high-strung Lizzie proves a fitting compliment to Peter's affable nature. Quirky supporting roles include Eleanor Bron and Bernard Hill as Peter's indifferent, but loveable parents, and Jon Favreau as Peter's distant sports agent who reappears to get him second-rate product endorsements.

Too bad the real Wimbledon never looks this interesting.

DVD includes a commentary track from Loncraine and Bettany, plus a volleying of featurettes, with special attention to Wimbledon's well-masked CGI.

See Kirsten serve.



Wimbledon

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th September 2004

Box Office USA: $16.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $40.7M

Budget: $31M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Fresh: 87 Rotten: 57

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Lizzie Bradbury, as Peter Colt, as Dennis Bradbury, as Carl Colt, as Edward Colt, as Jake Hammond, as Ron Roth, as Dieter Prohl, as Lydice Kenwood

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.