ZERO STARS/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras A-
starring Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson
written and directed by Richard Curtis
by Walter Chaw I actively, aggressively dislike this film. Richard Curtis's Love Actually says something of its intentions in a subplot involving an aged rocker (Bill Nighy) who knows he's creating a reprehensible piece of garbage in an attempt to cash in on the gaffed demographic that champions boy bands as the pinnacle of the art. The picture is a sex comedy in the worst senses of the genre: It's puerile, misogynistic, and breathtakingly stupid, with a keen focus on pratfalls and serendipity--all the while hoping that you won't notice the inappropriateness of its plays for heart-warming uplift. Curtis, after scoring a couple of times in the genre as screenwriter with Notting Hill and The Tall Guy, chooses Love Actually as his directorial debut, and its hatefulness speaks to the source of the comprehensive misanthropy of Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean (Atkinson makes a cameo; Curtis is a writer for "Mr. Bean"). A shame that Curtis's hyphenate turn begins to betray the man as ugly and self-indulgent.