I can relate to Peter Colt, the fading (and fictitious) tennis star of Wimbledon, played in this film by Paul Bettany (Master and Commander, A Beautiful Mind). When I was playing a lot of tournaments in my teens and 20s, I was often an early-round loser—but still dreamed of someday taking Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club and winning the most prestigious title in the world. I had it all rehearsed in my mind: a killer backhand down the line to finish off Borg (or Connors or McEnroe, it didn't matter), bowing to the royal box, holding the trophy aloft …

Paul Bettany as Peter Colt, the fading Brit player facing retirement

Paul Bettany as Peter Colt, the fading Brit player facing retirement

Alas, I never made it to Wimbledon (as a player or a fan), so my dreams remained just that—mere fantasy. But in Wimbledon, a romantic comedy starring Bettany and Kirsten Dunst, Peter Colt does see his dream come true. Once ranked as high as 11th in the world and Britain's great hope, Colt has slipped to 119th and is facing retirement—and a gig as tennis director at a local club where the clientele consists primarily of aging women who seem more interested in facials and drinks than forehands and overheads. But before that, Colt has one last shot at Wimbledon, where he's been given a wildcard invitation. Colt insists he'll retire after the tournament—which he assumes means an early exit, since he's no longer one of the world's best players.

While checking into his hotel at the beginning of the tournament, he meets Lizzie Bradbury, a feisty rising American star played by Dunst (Spiderman 1 & 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Sparks immediately fly—OK, they hop in the sack, par for the course for "light" romantic comedies these days—and wouldn't you know it, the smitten Colt starts winning matches.

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Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
Average Rating
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for language, sexuality and partial nudity)
Directed By
Richard Loncraine
Run Time
1 hour 38 minutes
Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau
Theatre Release
September 17, 2004 by Universal Pictures
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