Kate and Leopold (2001) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language
Running Time: 118 min.
Cast: Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer, Natasha Lyonne
Director: James Mangold
Screenplay: James Mangold, Steven Rogers
Review published June 25, 2002
Meg Ryan in a romantic-comedy is about as much of a sure thing as you can get in Hollywood. Although she has done her share of dramatic work, and fine performances she had in these, it will always be the films like SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, YOU'VE GOT MAIL, and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY that people will always remember her for when it comes to her career as an actress. Well, as you can see KATE AND LEOPOLD is Meg Ryan sticking with the formula that's worked for her, and it's a fairly predictable and not too insightful romantic comedy that entertains without much muss or fuss.
The film starts off with Leopold (Jackman) in the year 1876. He is a Duke, and one who feels under pressure to find a bride as quickly as he can. At a party where he intends to do just that, he spies a stranger acting with weird behavior and chases him out of the house and up a new construct where both of them end up being transported to modern-day New York City. The stranger turns out to be Stuart (Schreiber), who intends to send Leopold back through the time portal before it closes, but due to a time-ripple, Stuart finds out the hard way that elevators were never invented and instead takes a nasty fall. Leopold is then befriended by Kate (Ryan) and Charlie (Meyer), brother and sister who are neighbors of Stuart's, and who think Leopold is speaking and dressing like a 19th Century nobleman for a role he is method acting for. Leopold is a perfect gentleman, and Kate sees him as the perfect spokesman for her product she is having trouble selling, and there is a chemistry between the two, but is it a matter of right place, wrong time?
KATE AND LEOPOLD gets a mild recommendation for delivering all that you'd expect, even if you know exactly where it's going at all times without fail. Ryan and Jackman are very good in their respective roles, and the film does maintain watchability due to the performances and characterizations. Director James Mangold does a terrific job in his first time on board for a comedy, which he also contributed the screenplay to. It probably could be more entertaining and memorable if the end of the film hadn't been telegraphed in the first five minutes, but if you are looking for a date movie or just want to take your mind off of things without anything too deep or tragic, KATE AND LEOPOLD will fit the bill.
©2002 Vince Leo