Year: 2004
Production Co: Firstep Productions
Studio: Universal
Director: Richard Loncraine
Producer: Tim Bevan
Writer: Adam Brooks/Jennifer Flackett/Mark Levin
Cast: Paul Bettany, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Neill, John Favreau, James McEvoy, John McEnroe

I normally wouldn't respond at all to a romantic comedy set in the world of sport, but this is a few notches above the usual fare. Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst are good enough performers to lift the material out of the mire of predictable jokes and bland battle of the sexes premise we normally see from McConaghuey, Hudson, Heigl, Aniston et al.

He plays a tennis player past his prime announcing his retirement, which is promptly overshadowed by the news about the hot young tennis ingénue (Dunst) arriving, everybody expecting her to win the title.

They embark on a whirlwind romance against the wishes of her authoritarian father and coach (Neill), and it gives him the impetus he needs to refocus and deliver a true underdog story as he rises to the top.

A slightly more adult outlook with less fluff works.

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