Emma Thompson has got to be one of the most likable people on the planet. Putting aside her acting prowess, she just comes off as incredibly nice and even manages to ooze a sense of the British upper class without turning into Mrs. Dalloway. In heaven, I get to have tea with her and nibble on her freshly baked scones.

Until then, I will content myself with “The Love Punch,” in which Ms. Thompson says — in that common-sense way of hers — “Love is easy to fall into; it’s liking that’s much harder.” Surely she’s got no worries about being liked, and her character Kate is an eminently wonderful woman who lectures at a university and has remained friends with her ex-husband, Richard (Pierce Brosnan).

But Richard becomes more than that when he drops by her house to inform her that their entire savings have gone up in smoke, or rather, into the pocket of the investor that bought out Richard’s company. Very sensibly, Kate suggests that first they should get drunk and then contact their geek whiz-kid son, Matt (Jack Wilkinson), to hack into the investor’s computer system. When they learn that he has absconded to Paris with all the money, they decide to follow and get their pension fund back.

The Love Punch
Director Joel Hopkins
Run Time 82 minutes
Language English, French
Opens Dec. 6

Along the way the Kate-Richard duo tell us that life is grand when you’re over the hill and sporting wrinkles because now you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the flight — of life, I mean.

The ex-couple, who begin to act like newlyweds, happily stroll the Paris streets and occasionally make detours into action-movie stunts, such as driving a red sports car down a long flight of steps in Montmartre. This film is, after all, about a cash heist and a theft involving a diamond necklace which was bought with Richard and Kate’s pension money and has wound up around the neck of a French chick. They have to get the necklace to get back the money and it’s all nearly too complicated for people their age. “We are not the pink panther!” yells Richard at one point, to which Kate shouts back, “Why not?”

They get their friends Jerry (Timothy Spall) and Penelope (Celia Imrie) to join in the escapades, which take them from Paris to southern France. It would have been better if Richard hadn’t fall for Kate and vice-versa all over again — that seems like taking the fantasy factor a bit too far — but on the other hand, maybe my mother-in-law was right: “The first husband is always the best of the lot.”

Writer and director Joel Hopkins has a marvelous ear for the conversations of married couples, especially those who think they know every aspect of each other. In the case of Kate and Richard, perceptible changes in each others’ attitude and outlook (cultivated while they were apart) take them both by delighted surprise. Divorce need not be a complete termination of a relationship — if you’re friends with an ex-partner, he or she may prove to become an ally later on.

The takeaway lesson seems to be that it’s best not to write off your old partners. After a certain age, a good relationship can mean much more than sex and love, and that revelation is probably one of life’s great rewards.

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