No chance

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The period between late November and early January is generally one of the busiest for film critics. Between what's screened in advance for awards consideration and some year-end catching-up, the movies can start to run together - one reason why keeping notes is a helpful habit.

I found my notes especially useful after Last Chance Harvey, as I realized that within two weeks of seeing it, the movie had almost completely left my mind. It was actually gone from the moment the credits rolled.

That's something for a film starring two reliable, genial performers. Dustin Hoffman is Harvey, on his last chance with his job as a jingle writer and with his estranged daughter (Liane Balaban), who's invited him to London for her wedding. Emma Thompson is Kate, an airport worker with disheartening romantic prospects and a mother (Eileen Atkins) who demands constant attention.

They meet badly before meeting cute, and following Harvey's impromptu invitation to Kate to be his wedding-reception date, the cute just keeps on coming.

A void of inspiration is what keeps Harvey from sticking in spite of its co-stars. Even if particular lines or scenes weren't culled from another romantic comedy, they feel like they could have been. On the flip side, the movie isn't memorably awful, either.

"Last Chance Harvey"

Opens Friday

Grade: C