Love Actually is ten years old, but I still have to keep watching it

The DVD has been placed next to the DVD player.  I have been informed that the annual event will take place Sunday or Monday evening.  I can’t wait to experience yet again what has been called “the apex of cynically vacant faux-motional cash-grab garbage cinema”.  (I don’t know what faux-motional means, but it sure doesn’t sound good.)

Last year I had my say about Love Actually, and this year everyone seems to be piling on.  The film critic of The Atlantic calls the idea of watching the movie every years as a holiday tradition “utterly insane” and goes on at novella length about how anti-romantic it is.  He has good things to say about a couple of the subplots, but then:

As for the rest of the film—which is to say, the bulk of the film—I think it offers up at least three disturbing lessons about love. First, that love is overwhelmingly a product of physical attraction and requires virtually no verbal communication or intellectual/emotional affinity of any kind. Second, that the principal barrier to consummating a relationship is mustering the nerve to say “I love you”—preferably with some grand gesture—and that once you manage that, you’re basically on the fast track to nuptial bliss. And third, that any actual obstacle to romantic fulfillment, however surmountable, is not worth the effort it would require to overcome.

All of which is undoubtedly true, but geez, it’s also true of just about any romantic comedy that comes out of Hollywood.  At least in Love Actually some of the romances actually fail.

Which is to say that I’m beginning to feel a bit of sympathy for the movie, even if I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing Liam Neeson’s kid running endlessly through Heathrow to say goodbye to his ten-year-old beloved.  There’s always Hugh Grant dancing, and Emma Thompson crying, and Keira Knightley looking pretty, and Bill Nighy being Bill Nighy.

In a recent Boston Globe readers poll, Love Actually came in fifth on the list of favorite Christmas movies, tops among modern films except for the sublime Elf.  Is it possible the readers know something the critics don’t?