Late date added. But is the rom-com actually rubbish?

FOR more than half a century, Christmas for many filmgoers has been dominated by Jimmy Stewart, Zu Zu’s petals and the warm bubble that is It’s A Wonderful Life.  

At least for the old fashioned romantics. For the rest of you, there’s Muppet Christmas Carol.

But Love Is All Around once more and 2017 just might be the time for Frank Capra’s black and white masterpiece to step aside for the modern festive miracle that is Love Actually.

In 13 years since its release, Richard Curtis’s rom-com, studded with stars like the late Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon, has become the world’s best loved 21st century yuletide film, it says here.

So much so that last month some wily prospector decided to hire a full orchestra and take Love Actually on a UK tour in December, playing Craig Armstrong’s “evocative” score over the hot syrupy action on the big screen.

Screenings would take place all the big cities, including such metropolitan hotbeds of romance as Manchester and Birmingham. But what, no Liverpool? So we ignored it. 

Until today when,  “due to phenomenal demand”, a Mersey date has been added. Love Actually is “On Shag Highway heading West".

With the best tickets in the house going for £65 a pop, you might want to consider taking your own flask of mulled wine and secreting a mince pie or two in your underparts to offset the cost. Or just wheel a trolley around the Aintree Asda any tine after October 31 to hear Maria Carey warble All I Want For Christmas, while reminding yourself never to attempt it's difficult vocal in any public place, especially in gin.

You see, not everyone will be buying. Liverpool blogger Stuart Ian Burns studied the film for his university diss-ertation and makes the case, in several thousand words, as to why “Love Actually is rubbish” on his site, Feeling Listless

He's not letting it lie, either, as his frequent social media updates attest.

Burns variously describes the film as poorly edited and unfunny, featuring creepy, middle class white men seducing their employees and where the only two main female characters have unhappy endings. Bah humbug?

There’s a lot of this stuff like this on the web and while one might have to suspend disbelief at the notion of Grant’s unmarried prime minister dating a chirpy cockney sparrer like McCutcheon, or “wrinkly and old” Nighy having a Christmas number one, there is no doubting that its nine whimsical tales get people into the holiday mood. 

And, yeah, despite, despite the utterly preposterous idea of a man slag American president touching up the female help. 

“What the actual f***,” as George Bailey never said.

*Love Actually, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Monday 11th December.  Tickets, £39.50, £49.50, £65. Ticketmaster