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Almost Love(ly)

Charming, sharp and possessing a winning spirit, Wimbledon nearly emerges victorious as a romantic comedy. Surely romances must blossom on the professional tennis circuit. However, the likelihood of two athletes who compete at the elite level frolicking in the park, drinking beer, and eating fish and chips before a big match (at the most illustrious of Grand Slam tournaments no less) seems a bit implausible. One truly has to be a hopeless romantic to fully buy into this story.

What is lovely about Wimbledon is Paul Bettany as aging journeyman, Peter Colt. You can't help rooting for Peter. He's a got a great sense of humor, he's chivalrous, and he's just genuinely a good guy who deserves to win. But, for whatever reason, he hasn't.

Complementing Bettany's excellent performance is Kirsten Dunst's turn as tennis bad girl, Lizzie Bradbury. While Lizzie has winning in her blood, Peter's never quite made it. Lizzie is the yin to Peter's yang.

You can pretty much see what's going to unfold here from the start. Its Peter's last professional event; he's never won a Grand Slam tournament, let alone Wimbledon. But, this time he's got 'love' (not the tennis varietal) on his side in the form of Lizzie Bradbury. (Cue lovelorn sigh.)

It's predictable, it's cliché, but it still works to a certain extent due to the great performances put forth by Dunst and Bettany. They are wonderful to watch together on screen. Coupled with some witty dialogue and sharp writing, Wimbledon comes a net cord away from being a truly winning film.

Stars: 3 out of 5