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Last Updated: Friday, 7 November, 2003, 14:35 GMT
Love Actually stars reunite in NY
Martine McCutcheon
Martine McCutcheon found fame in EastEnders
Stars from the British romantic comedy Love Actually graced the red carpet in New York, including Colin Firth, Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant.

Grant, who plays the British prime minister, admitted he feared the story could have ended up too sentimental because it was all about love.

"The reason it succeeds rather than being puke-making is that it is funny as well," he said.

The film has many intertwining stories about love set around Christmas.

Love Actually is written and directed by Richard Curtis, who was wrote hit romantic comedies Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Winner

Actor Firth said: "I think every single discerning person on this film felt we were in danger of drowning in syrup if we did not end up with something substantial."

Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant has starred in most of Richard Curtis' romantic comedies
But he added: "The bottom line is that it completely wins you over, it sweeps you up."

Among the illustrious cast are Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Rowan Atkinson and Keira Knightly.

Former EastEnders actress Martine McCutcheon plays a Downing Street tea lady who catches the eye of the prime minister.

Speaking at the première, McCutcheon said: "I feel like I'm in a bubble, I cannot believe it's me here.

"I'm looking at posters in Times Square with me and Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson and I'm like 'Oh my God why am I up there'."

Marshmallow

Grant denied his character was based on Tony Blair but said the original PM in the film was "too nice" so he decided to give him "a bit more steel".

Initial reviews of the film in the United States have been mixed.

The New York Times ridiculed the movie as an "indigestible Christmas pudding from the British whimsy factory responsible for such reasonably palatable confections as Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary".

It said: "Love Actually is a patchwork of contrived naughtiness and forced pathos, ending as it began, with hugging and kissing at the airport (where returning passengers are perhaps expressing their relief at being delivered from an in-flight movie like this one)."

But the Associated Press praised the movie, saying it would leave "a big, silly grin on your face".

Critic Jocelyn Noveck said: "It's unabashedly sentimental, premised on the relentlessly upbeat message that love is everywhere."

Curtis said the film squeezed nine movies into one, allowing him to bring in some of Britain's brightest TV talents including Teachers' Andrew Lincoln and Martin Freeman from The Office.

Thompson, whose character suffers when her husband has an affair, said the film was about "many different kinds of love".

She said: "Hugh and I were vicious about sentimentality but there was a very good cast and Richard Curtis is very good about stopping with a gag before you get into marshmallow."


SEE ALSO:
Actor's Xmas bid with spoof song
19 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
British screen legends: Hugh Grant
21 Feb 03  |  Entertainment


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