The director Richard Curtis fills the cast with nearly every great British actor, and they make even ridiculous moments — Mr. Grant’s dancing to the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump (for My Love)” through 10 Downing Street — seem like master classes.
Thanks to the way-back machine that is the Internet, we can see what the Times had to say about the film back in 2003, when it first came out. You don’t see reviews of major movies much worse than this one:
”Love Actually” is a patchwork of contrived naughtiness and forced pathos, ending as it began, with hugging and kissing at the airport (where returning passengers are perhaps expressing their relief at being delivered from an in-flight movie like this one). The loose ends are neatly tied up, as they are when you seal a bag of garbage — or if you prefer, rubbish.
Yikes. (Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a 63%, slightly over the line from rottenness. Audiences like it much better, coming in at 73%.)
Speaking of hugging and kissing at the airport, the latest episode of The New Girl features the cast at the airport heading to various places for the holidays. It plays a cover of “God Only Knows” at one point as it cuts from character to character, clearly a reference to the soundtrack of Love, Actually. Does a movie become a classic when a sitcom pays homage to it?