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The Love Punch

Emma Thompson re-teams with Last Chance Harvey writer-director Joel Hopkins for The Love Punch, an entertaining middle-aged heist comedy. A British / French co-production, the film stars Pierce Brosnan as Richard Jones, a British businessman whose company's pension fund is wiped out by a villainous French banker. Determined to get back his employees' money by any means necessary, Richard heads to Paris with his ex-wife Kate (Thompson) and the pair plot to steal the 10 million dollar diamond the Frenchman has recently bought for his fiancée Manon.

Hopkins keeps the action moving at a zippy pace and displays a lightness of touch that keeps the film from becoming too ridiculous. On top of that, the film makes the most of its glamorous French Riviera locations and the script has a stash of funny lines.

Brosnan is on good comic form as Richard, gamely poking fun at his James Bond image, most notably during a clifftop-scaling scene where it turns out he's afraid of heights. He also has engagingly sparky chemistry with Thompson and their falling-in-love-again romance is nicely observed, in amongst all the jokes about getting older.

However, the film's trump card is a pair of winning supporting performances from Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall as Pen and Jerry, Kate and Richard's best friends, who are roped in as unlikely partners in crime. Imrie, in particular, proves a consummate scene-stealer, whether deploying knock-out comic timing or monkeying around with an ice statue in a throwaway gag that gets the film's biggest laugh.

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