Review: How to Make Love Like an Englishman
Chemistry and charm from the leads in any rom-com can only go so far; your level of interest in the middling How to Make Love Like an Englishman goes as far as you’re willing to let Pierce Brosnan, Jessica Alba, and Salma Hayek take you.
That’s certainly an enjoyable if not especially attractive journey. The story around though fills in familiar templates as our titular Brit takes from London to L.A., dating one sister in the trio before having eyes with the other. With less-respected actors, this story bleeds sexism and witlessness.
The attempt to make this love triangle story more compelling is that Brosnan’s well-read Richard is a professor of romantic literature and active participant in the excesses of love. He life is meant to parallel that which teaches; pair that with a sudden culture change when his younger girlfriend Kate (Alba) becomes pregnant and gets a new job in Southern California, and you’ve got a couple somewhat interesting plotlines.
It’s the presence of Olivia, Kate’s more age-appropriate sister, a woman who is wooed by Richard when they are at first but strangers, that also subverts this convenient world in which the characters live.
Director Tom Vaughan tries hard to infuse sentimentality but misses the mark with oddly placed lyrical ballads; our three leads are more than capable of bringing the best out of a fine script by Matthew Newman. Malcolm McDowell comes and goes as Richard’s father, a cantankerous coot who was passed on his sex-charged genes.
Perfectly forgettable and wholly unremarkable, How to Make Love Like an Englishman isn’t as saucy as the title suggests. It’s saved only by its cast, with an awkward excess of heart.