Love Actually/Hate Actually #5: John/Judy

In Love Actually/Hate Actually, Great Boos Up discusses each story in the movie and puts it on trial in an attempt to grapple with his enjoyment of the movie versus his own acknowledgement of its problems.

The Defendants: John and Judy

Which Story Is This? John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) are stand-ins for a movie in which they have to get naked and simulate having sex.1 Despite the explicit sexuality of the situation, they are shy around each other, but they eventually work up the courage to go on a date.

THE PROSECUTION

Problematic Content: 0/5. The story where the leads are naked much of the time is actually probably the least problematic. Everything is professional and respectful. John is specifically not pressuring Judy into a date.

Character Issues: 0/5. The characters don’t need to be deep for this simple story, so there’s not a whole lot to get wrong. They are likable if not terribly distinct.

Frustrating Execution: 1/5. Again, simple story, not a lot to get wrong. Although having Judy say, “All I want for Christmas…is you” is…it’s too far, Richard Curtis. I know we’re sort of doing a thing where people say the names of songs as dialogue, but…too precious. (To be fair, Martin Freeman’s reaction shot is a kind of bug-eyed “Uhhh…that was a little weird, but okay then!”)

THE DEFENSE

Comedy and Charm: 3/5. It’s a sketch, basically. Two people who have to be naked and pretend to bone are awkward and timid about how they kind of like each other. You get it.

Drama and Poignancy: 0/5. Not what they’re going for here.

Does It Make You Believe in the Power of Love? 4/5. Two nice people overcome their shyness and go on a date. Given the scope of the movie, it’s kind of refreshing to have such low-key stakes.

THE VERDICT

ACQUITTED. It’s cute and slight. There’s not much to it, but there’s not really anything objectionable. A ringing endorsement indeed!