Although Hope Springs doesn’t deserve the slating it has been given in the national media, chick flick afficionados will leave disappointed. Its biggest downfall is Heather Graham, who gives a thoroughly uninspiring performance. Her character Mandy appears first as a small-town girl but then quite unexpectedly downs half a bottle of brandy before midday and dances naked around a motel room. Colin Firth, who in the film has come to the small town of Hope, Vermont to escape his former fiancée Vera (Minnie Driver), plays the uptight Brit with ease, though he too has toe-curling moments. Driver plays a real bitch who swishes back to recover Colin, and she conforms to the English snob stereotype, bringing a hilarious breath of socially prejudiced vanity to the picture-postcard town full of nosey but nice Americans. While the plot lacks subtlety, unashamedly creating avenues for comedy, it gives the film a pace it would otherwise lack and doesn’t fail to raise a giggle. However, the opportunities for humour are by no means exploited to their full potential and it would appear that the Welsh clearly provide more comical potential than the Americans, in all their cheesy goofiness, ever will. Hope Springs joins this year’s rapidly increasing list of disappointing chick flicks, but that said it is a harmless way to spend 92 minutes. To the delight of box offices both sides of the Atlantic, it points fun at the Yanks and the Brits, capitalising on the stereotypes we all enjoy.
ARCHIVE: 3rd Week TT 2003

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