Time Out saysEight or nine plotlets, a castlist the size of a rugby scrum. Whatever persuaded first-time director Curtis that he could handle this lot, we can only hope that a hype-happy press and the biggest audience money can buy won't persuade him he's carried it off. This is an embarrassment, an overdrawn rom-com gone very wrong. Alternately sentimental and silly, it aims wide, and misses. On the one hand, we have Neeson comforting his lovesick 11-year-old; Linney with a loony in her attic; and Knightley as a newlywed with a not-so-secret admirer - none of whom is remotely funny. On the other, there's Firth as a jilted writer failing to communicate with his comely Eastern European maid; a couple of movie stand-ins bonking; and McCutcheon as Number Ten's tealady, catching the eye of Grant's PM (even Tony Blair looks credible in comparison). Hard to decide which mini-sitcom is most ludicrous, but it's clear the broader canvas hasn't afforded Curtis a longer perspective on society. His upper middle class twits have no more depth than his lower middle class twats. Stranded in this boutique confection are two stand-out performances: Emma Thompson is genuinely touching as the wife of philandering Alan Rickman; and Bill Nighy has a ball as an old rocker with a Christmas comeback single - a record no more crass or pre-packaged than this shameless yuletide schmaltz.
Cast and crew
Liam Neeson, Martine McCutcheon, Andrew Lincoln, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gregor Fisher, Heike Makatsch, Keira Knightley, Kris Marshall, Lucia Moniz, Rowan Atkinson, Billy Bob Thornton, Laura Linney, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Claudia Schiffer