Chivalry in New York
Leopold, the Duke of Albany (Hugh Jackman - Swordfish) is a gentleman from 1876, a gentleman who despite designing a bridge and inventing an elevator is bored by life. It is why he spots a curious man in a crowd and then when he sees him again later follows him. That man is Stuart (Liev Schreiber - Scream 3) who just happens to be his great-great-grandson from the year 2001 who has found a hole in the time continuum and has headed back to the past, except when Leopold chases Stuart he ends up leaping forward 125 years to modern day New York. When Stuart is involved in an accident he has to rely on his former girlfriend Kate (Meg Ryan - Proof of Life), who lives in the flat below him, and her brother Charlie (Breckin Meyer) to take care of Leopold. Despite explaining to Kate who he is she doesn't believe it for a second and thinks the dashing Leopold would be great in her advertising campaign leading to them spending a lot of time together, and time together means romance.
I don't know what I was quite expecting from "Kate & Leopold" as on one hand we have a romantic comedy with Meg Ryan, then we have time travelling sci-fi and then we have fish out of water comedy. Just thinking about the combination it seems too much and maybe that is why whilst "Kate & Leopold" is to a certain extent entertaining it failed to wow me.
Now in truth you can pretty much ignore the whole time travel malarkey as it is purely the mechanism to get a 19th century gentleman in 21st century New York and provide the obvious romantic dilemma. But what that means is that a significant part of "Kate & Leopold" is built around the old favourite of fish out of water comedy. As such we have the chivalrous Leopold struggling to deal with a modern world and acting like a gentleman who can't believe that there is a law which expects him to pick up a canine's bowel movements. It is entertaining with Hugh Jackman doing a good job of selling it all but at the same time of course it is still all very familiar.
Then there is the romantic side of the movie which with Meg Ryan in the role of the love interest makes it a familiar as the fish out of water side of the movie. It works with Meg Ryan doing another fine job of selling the fun romance but it is a case that we have seen her do it before and so even though there is the dilemma of the 125 year gap it still remains familiar.
That is the thing which sort of holds "Kate & Leopold" from being anything other than just romantically entertaining as it is all too familiar. It is something which could have been partly solved by having someone other than Meg Ryan in the romantic role. But even then the fish out of water familiarity would still have held it back.
What this all boils down to is that "Kate & Leopold" is an entertaining romantic comedy which will appeal to those who like Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman. But for those just wanting a romantic comedy the familiarity of it all holds it back.