Two Weeks Notice stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy Kelson, an idealistic lawyer who hopes to devote her skills to the needy and underprivileged. When we first meet her, she's clinging to a wrecking ball with two friends behind her, hoping to save a theatre scheduled for demolition. George Wade (Hugh Grant) is a real estate billionaire who makes his money demolishing old theatres and building expensive apartment complexes on them. Wade is also a real playboy, consistently hiring ladies for their looks rather than their resumes. His brother, Howard (David Haig), the real boss of the Wade Corporation, has had enough of it, and assigns George to get a real lawyer rather than the next beautiful blonde who catches his eye. The next day, George runs into Lucy, and despite her view of George and the Wade Corporation as the enemy, she agrees as long as George will save the community center where her parents (Dana Ivey and Robert Klein) live.
This is a perfectly decent set up for a romantic comedy, in which she would learn that a businessman like George Wade might have a soul, and he would discover he has some idealism at heart. Unfortunately, the screenplay for Two Weeks Notice feels like a first draft, filled with half-baked ideas and aborted story threads. The film spends time on numerous, lengthy scenes that aren't about anything at all or concern characters that aren't very important instead of developing Lucy and George.
For instance, take Meryl Brooks (Heather Burns), one of the two friends behind Lucy at that wrecking ball scene. She only appears in three scenes in the movie, which take up maybe six minutes of screen time, and yet her character has remnants of an arc involving her fiancee. George has an office assistant named Norman (Jason Antoon) and a driver named Tony (Dorian Missick), both of whom feel too present in the movie to be supporting, but not present enough to be relevant. Each one speaks to a lack of efficiency at script level, which eats up valuable screen time we should be spending with the main characters. Midway through the film, director / screenwriter Marc Lawrence adds insult to injury by introducing June Carver (Alicia Witt), so that Lucy can suddenly be jealous of this other woman coming onto George (despite the film's failure to communicate how strong Lucy and George's romantic chemistry is meant to be at that moment, or why June would be any worse than the women George tries to pick up in bars).
The same problems occur in terms of plotting. Instead of focusing on the way in which Lucy is helping develop the project near her parents' community center, the script alludes to a number of undefined assignments she's completing. The viewer is left to wonder how much of the philanthropic work she cares about she's able to do, or not do. The ways in which George frustrates her are not entirely consistent, not to mention he remains aloof throughout, making his late-breaking epiphanies feel arbitrary. For Lucy and George's chemistry to be exciting, we would like to know what she sees in him, and what he sees in her, but their sparks are a jumble of random moments, many of them wildly slapstick despite most of the film being dialogue sequences. What do we learn about him or her when he drags her down the highway and pays the owner of an RV so she can use their bathroom?
There are two scenes which suggest a better movie was possible with the same actors and basic story: a scene where Lucy is drunk on George's boat, allowing Bullock to show off her physical comedy chops, and a sweet one, where they talk about architecture while flying over NYC in George's private helicopter. For brief moments, Two Weeks Notice feels like it's about real people sharing something, rather than a random series of events building toward a predetermined climax. It's not that I have anything against romantic comedies. It's just that this isn't a good one.
The Video and Audio
The film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is bright and poppy, but, like the picture, has some sense of age to it, with the sound doing its job surrounding, but never quite offering the kind of clarity and crispness of modern mixes. Of course, there's nothing going on in the film that requires more than what the track offers, so it's probably just fine. Castilian and Latin Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish tracks are also on offer, as well as English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing and Spanish and French subtitles.