Published Sep 06, 2012Departing substantially from her Oscar-winning conflict examination, In a Better World, in both style and tone, Susanne Bier's housewife-friendly follow-up, Love is All You Need, is ostensibly just a better-than-average, generic romantic comedy.
It is, however, a romantic comedy with consistent pseudo-counter-cultural themes and moderately complex characterizations, which propel it ahead of anything featuring the likes of Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl within the current lexicon.
Mostly taking place in Italy, with a primarily Danish cast, this treatise on the dangers of keeping up appearances finds middle-aged Ida (Tryne Dyrholm) suffering a bit of an existential crisis when she catches her husband of 20-plus years porking a younger woman on their couch after learning she may be cured of cancer.
Given the gift of life, both figuratively and literally, she trots off to Italy to attend her daughter Astrid's (Molly Blixt Egelind) wedding, getting in a car accident with corporate douchebag Philip (Pierce Brosnan) along the way. The clincher: Philip is the father of the groom and the two of them have immediate chemistry.
Inevitably, the machinations of this nascent romance take the usual route towards "happily ever after," overcoming hurdles like Philip's flirtatious sister-in-law, Benedikte (Paprika Steen at her funniest), and Ida's inability to embrace her desires outside of social expectations. Throw in a secondary storyline about a potentially closeted homosexual groom and you've got dysfunctional family comedy and thematically mirrored storylines to round out the formula.
While every revelation and outcome is clear from the outset, what gives this playful, breezy diversion its charm is comedy that hits more than it misses and a fully dedicated ensemble cast that makes the most of every moment.
The romance may fall a bit flat, with the occasional misguided stab at emotional bonding between Philip and Tryne (beyond her goofy charm, it's never clear why Philip is so enamoured with her), but the overall ride is pleasant, entertaining and even a bit moving. (Mongrel Media)