Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Screenshot: YouTube

It’s the holidays, which means it’s time to reignite one of the season’s oldest traditions—debating whether or not Love, Actually is, in fact, a terrible movie. The extremely British 2003 rom-com has maintained a cult following of diehard fans over the years, but there are a number of themes and scenes that really, truly just don’t fly in 2019. In particular, that scene where Andrew Lincoln’s character shows up unannounced at the recently-married Keira Knightly’s house on Christmas Eve to tell her that, hey, he’ll stand outside her proverbial window all her goddamn life if he has to until she realizes the error of her romantic ways.

Creepy? Yes. Conniving? For sure. Totally overstepping a woman’s boundaries? You bet, but...well, that’s it, actually. There really aren’t any redeeming qualities to the scene. So of course Boris Johnson and his Brexit hounds decided to parody it during their last-minute campaign blitz leading up to Britain’s General Election this Thursday.

In some ways, it’s pretty appropriate. Johnson and the Tories are desperate to make this whole, convoluted, disastrous Brexit thing a reality, even if that means showing up at undecided voters houses at night telling them to just shut up and read some placards about how, essentially, they should vote for Boris because they’re too exhausted to do anything else.

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But don’t take it from us Yanks. Here are some Brits to better contextualize the awfulness of the ad:

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“Enough. Enough. Let’s get this done,” Boris glumly says to the camera at the end like some two-bit hitman silencing his pleading, teary-eyed mark. Certainly a winning campaign slogan if we’ve ever heard one.

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Meanwhile, that lovable, irascible (genuinely concerned for his country’s future) Hugh Grant pointed out the parody ad missed one crucial, absurdly telling detail from the original scene. “I did notice that one of the cards from the original film that he didn’t hold up was the one where Andrew Lincoln held up a card saying: ‘Because at Christmas you tell the truth,’” said Grant in an interview with BBC Radio. “I just wonder if the spin doctors in the Tory party thought that was a card that wouldn’t look too great in Boris Johnson’s hands.”

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Well, at least the thought of Boris Johnson shuffling door-to-door during like some Cockney Yuletide Krampus should be enough to keep British kids on their best behavior through Christmas Day. Or at least until their parents have to tell them the import tariffs are too high for insulin.

Andrew Paul's work is recently featured by Rolling Stone, GQ, The Forward, and The Believer, as well as McSweeney's Internet Tendency and TNY's Daily Shouts.

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