Opening 24 Mar 2005
Tennis gets its day in the sports-film sun in Wimbledon, a light but pleasant drama-comedy about opposites who attract. The opposites are Peter Colt (Paul Bettany of Master and Commander and A Beautiful Mind), an aging British tennis star on his last legs, and Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst of Spider Man 1 and 2), a hot young American tennis star on the rise. Peter, once ranked 11th but now ranked 119th in the world, has a wild-card entry to Wimbledon, after which he plans to retire from professional tennis. While there, he meets Lizzie, who changes his game and his life. Soon, he’s playing like the star he never realized he was. Can Peter make it to the top, and get the girl besides?
As this film is utterly predictable, the answer to that question is apparent from early on, but it’s still fun getting to the resolution. Unfortunately, the character development on all characters but Peter is minimal, and most of the actors can’t seem to rise above the limitations the script places on them. Only Bettany is a standout, showing good chemistry with Dunst and proving that he can carry a film all on his own. The action shots of the tennis matches are done pretty well, and the final match is exciting, but the film never rises to its full potential. As an enjoyable diversion on an airplane, or for a quiet evening at home, Wimbledon might be just the ticket, but otherwise, it’s an event you can pass on. (Kirsten Greco)