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As you may know, I'm not really a fan of sports. But sports movies or shows can be entertaining, if I care about the players. You know, as characters. Or whatever. So I actually have a reason to root for them... which I generally don't in real life. And I did root for the two main characters in this movie, because I liked them. But this really is more... well, I want to say "more of a romantic comedy than a sports movie," but I think it's actually pretty equally divided between the two genres. Of course, I care more about the romantic comedy aspect than the sports aspect, but both were good. I give credit for this to the writers, and the actors. (Chiefly Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany.)
So anyway, Bettany plays Peter Colt, a British tennis player in his 30s who is planning to retire from professional tennis (to become a tennis director at some club) after playing in his final tournament. He'd been ranked 11th, years ago, but now he was 119th. At the tournament, he meets a younger up-and-coming American player named Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst), and the two of them soon start a fling, which isn't supposed to be serious, but of course they eventually end up falling in love. Lizzie's father, Dennis (Sam Neill), who is also apparently her trainer or manager or whatever, doesn't like Peter becoming a distraction for Lizzie, potentially throwing her off her game. Meanwhile, there's a bit of subplot about Peter's parents, and his brother, Carl (James McAvoy). And he has a practice partner named Dieter, a German who's also competing (and who he'll eventually have to face in the tournament). And naturally, against all odds, Peter wins his matches, to eventually wind up in the finals against another American, Jake Hammond, who apparently has some history with Lizzie, though it's not clear to me exactly what that history might be. Oh, there's also Peter's agent, Ron Roth (Jon Favreau), who has suddenly renewed his interest in Peter, now that he's on a winning streak. And there's a ball boy with a minor role. And I suppose various other supporting characters.
The movie's basically full of clichés and pretty predictable, but it was also witty, amusing, had perhaps a few nice twists (I did enjoy hearing Peter's inner monologue periodically throughout the movie, particularly right after one of the commentators wondered what was going through his mind). And basically, the movie's existence is justified by Bettany and Dunst's charming performances, as well as the performances of some of the supporting characters. And, you know... clichés become clichés for a reason; sometimes they just work. (But it doesn't hurt that sometimes this movie plays against them, immediately after setting them up. Well, it did that at least once, anyway.) Whatever, it's a funny and sweet movie, and an underdog story for you sports fans. So, basically fun all around.