Film Threat archive logo


By Herb Kane | January 12, 2002

CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Lawrence Toppman (, Moira Macdonald (, Margaret McGurk (, Michæl Elliott (, Michæl Dequina (, Michæl Wilmington (Chicago Tribune), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Liz Braun (Toronto Sun), Claudia Puig (USA Today), Tom Long (, Maitland McDonagh (TV Guide) and Berge Garabedian ( ^ * * * * (out of 5 stars)
Kate and Leopold is a fun, simple, romantic comedy. Yet critics have to pick it apart as if it was meant to be a big budget, science-fiction masterpiece. For the love of God, critics! Have some fun, will ya?
This movie is about Leopold (Hugh Jackman), third duke of Albany, a bachelor from 1876 who accidentally time-travels into the 21st century and falls in love with Kate (Meg Ryan). Kate’s affection for Leopold grows because of his irresistible 19th century charm. If only some critics could embrace this charming film.
Lawrence Toppman ( said the movie “has the sex appeal of a Road Runner cartoon, one-tenth the laughs and equal plausibility.” Well, Lawrence. This was a pretty good romantic comedy. So what you’re telling us is that you get h***y watching Road Runner cartoons while laughing hysterically at the same? You’re weird.
Moira Macdonald ( pouts, “The idea that a woman needs to be rescued from her career is a fragile hook on which to hang a movie. Although, come to think of it, maybe Ryan needs to be rescued from hers.”
So tell me, Moira. Are you just jealous of Meg Ryan or are you a Russell Crowe stalker? Meg simply did her usual bit and she does it well – as many other critics will agree:
— “Adorable as ever, she plays her patented Meg Ryan Role – the exasperated, overworked, romantically frustrated career woman with a wardrobe to die for and expensively disheveled hair. She’s great at it, really. Always has been.” Margaret McGurk (
— “She gives us nothing that we haven’t seen in When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, or Sleepless in Seattle, but she is appealing and still knows how to exude a warmth to which an audience responds.” Michæl Elliott (
— “There’s no question that Meg Ryan is the queen of romantic comedies; no actress working today can carry off the wistful and wacky demands of the genre as well as she.” Michæl Dequina (
Kate and Leopold is a dumb, fun movie. So why on Earth are critics getting so upset over the nonsensical time-travel element? Michæl Wilmington (Chicago Tribune) asks, “Why does a man stranded in the wrong century make no effort for most of the movie to contact his host Stuart – the only man who can help get him back – while Stuart languishes in traction in the hospital?”
Why do you think, Michæl? It’s because the filmmakers need more time to tell this fun story! How many films like this have you seen in your writing career? Good grief. There are a host of other critics really attacking the time-travel paradoxes, but those writers are not worth my time mentioning here.
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) got it right: “Time travel involves so many paradoxes that it is wise, in a romantic comedy like this, to simply ignore them. The movie is not really about time travel anyway.”
Liz Braun (Toronto Sun) gripes, “‘Kate & Leopold’ is long, embarrassing to watch, sloppy and infantile, which means it falls under the general comedic heading of ‘crowd pleaser.’ Adolescents might like this movie.”
Well EXCUSE ME, Liz, for not being as old as you! The real crowd pleaser in this movie is Hugh Jackman and most critics (and women) concur:
— “Worth seeing mainly because of Jackman’s performance.” Claudia Puig (USA Today)
— “He’s handsome, funny, rugged and refined; he gleams with confidence in a part that could have reduced lesser actors to silliness.” Margaret McGurk (
— “Ryan fits into this role as if it’s a mitten she wears every winter, but this is undeniably Jackman’s movie.” Tom Long (
— “It becomes a star-making vehicle for Jackman.” Maitland McDonagh (TV Guide)
I love time-travel movies. They fascinate me because the fantasy of going back (or forward) in time is a curious thing. How many of us wouldn’t want to go back and save the Titanic, or prevent the Kennedy assassination, or go forward and just plain gather lottery numbers? In this movie, women simply want to go back with Leopold – or should I say – Hugh Jackman.
Berge Garabedian ( summed the film up best, “Cute. Funny. Charming. Romantic. Predictable. Fluffy. Recycled. Long. Many words which all describe this movie pretty well. More or less…a crowd-pleaser.”
Thanks to Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman, Kate and Leopold audiences will travel on a fun ride through time. ^ –CRITIC DOCTOR
Check out’s FEATURE ARCHIVES and read more insightful stories, expert analysis, gut-busting satire and caustic commentary!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon