You might think I made Notting Hill for the ladies of the world. You’d be about half right. I certainly wanted their big fat box office money. But underneath the happy love story is a subtle warning for men. While the ladies sit there purring, “I wish this would happen to me,” us guys should be mortified, “If this ever happens to me I’m gonna kill myself!”

Writing a chick flick is easy as long as you follow one cardinal rule: every character is a woman. If it helps, you can even give them lady names while writing. Just remember to change some of them to man names when you’re finished. Or don’t. There are so many wimpy man names these days, people might not even notice. Nevertheless, in the same way all action movies take place in a world where bullets don’t hit the good guys, chick flicks take place in a world where handsome, muscular men want to cuddle, eat ice cream in bed and not fart. Oh, wait. I forgot the one exception. Each movie has to have one example of explosively disgusting masculinity to make the main guy’s foppishness that much more attractive. This guy can be either a best friend character, or a cheating former flame from the main lady’s past. Your choice.

So there’s this place called Notting Hill, which is just left of Heaven, England. Everyone there gets to eat whatever they want without worrying about calories. The entire area is one huge, but quaint, shopping center with a couple of architecturally stimulating apartment buildings thrown in for good measure (and living). It’s Sunday every day of the week except for Sunday, which is Saturday. No one there has ever heard of Andrew Dice Clay.

Many nice people live in Notting Hill, but the nicest one of all is this guy named Judy. Judy is funny, handsome, attractive, and has a good sense of humor. He is polite, adorable, well-tempered, non-aggressive, non-possessive, non-afraid of commitment, and doesn’t like sports. He sits down when he pees because he doesn’t want to spray everywhere, and he actually listens when you talk. He is quite simply the greatest man alive. He looks like a Munchkin, which is cute, but he’s not short like a Munchkin, which is weird. In fact, he has a unique genetic ability to grow exactly two inches taller than any women he is in love with. If he could sweat, it would smell like roasted butter. And if all that’s not enough, he’s also a virgin. Not because he’s been waiting for marriage, but because he’s been waiting for YOU.

The YOU in this film is represented by the cross-eyed and bass-mouthed Julia Roberts, who’s kind of like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of chick flicks. In a bit of meta casting, she plays a really famous actress. With crabs.

She wants to do a little Notting Shopping, and if she’s really lucky, have orange juice spilled all over her boobies. As if on cue (hmmm…fate?), Judy walks by with two ready-to-go glasses of OJ. (No such think as soda in Notting Hill.) After setting up the spill, they rush back to his apartment where, feigning anger, she makes him take off her shirt and wash her breasts. While scrubbing softly with a loofah, he stammers about twenty apologies a second, forty after she notices his erection. Realizing that he is the bargain of the century as far as heterosexual experiences go, she talks him into a night of chocolate-covered strawberries, red wine, massage, long talks, gentle lovemaking, and just a little yoga. Because his penis has the maturity of Kevin Arnold, he falls head over heels in love. She doesn’t have this problem. He asks when he can see her again. She replies, “Never. I’m Julia Roberts and I got Hollywood shit to do, Judy.” So she leaves.

His heart breaks every day for a year. A lot of girls try to ask him out, but he refuses. “That’d be cheating,” he whines. “She might come back, and if she does, I won’t be able to look her in the eyes if I made my thing whoopee with your thing.” This level of dedication only makes him more attractive. Soon, even the men of Notting Hill are checking out his ass.

Of course, she eventually comes back. Apparently in England you can show tits in newspapers, and one day, while visiting England, Julia Roberts finds her tits in some newspapers. She freaks out and heads to the only comfortable haven she knows, Judy’s house. They make love and have a sweet conversation about how weird it is that men love breasts. Judy admits, “I don’t know why. Speaking for myself, I’ve always preferred personality to body.” All the soccer moms who have his room wire-tapped swoon and sway. Some of them pass out. After he reads aloud some Nora Roberts, even the strongest of them are on the floor.

Their night together is wonderful, but it is all destroyed by a very rude awakening the next morning. The paparazzi have arrived. They break down Judy’s door and surround them while lying naked in bed. Immediately Julia starts yelling at and slapping Judy. “You called the Razzi! Fucker! You’re just trying to get famous by fucking a famous person!”

Judy’s stammering instinct takes over so strongly that he can’t put together even one word in defense. The Paparazzi mistakes what this means: “Hey! Not only is she screwing some guy, but that guy’s also a stuttering retard!” They run off to write the headlines. Julie punches Judy in the face a couple more times, then leaves.

What Julia doesn’t realize is that Judy has a roommate named He-Man. This guy is sort of the missing link between us and Sasquatch. They refer to him as Welsh, but I don’t know what a Welsh is. Anyway, he’s sloppy, rude, gross, and stupid. However, if you saw Notting Hill and laughed at all, it’s his fault. Judy asks him, “Did you call the press, He-Man?” He-Man responds smiling, “Fock yeahs Ah did! They paid I a pound, n I butt us sum fish’n chips! Yeah Mate? Rock on!”

Judy grieves for another year, and the people Notting Hill start getting sick of his floppy-haired mopey bullshit. He notes this and comes to resolve that he will never love again. This is actually a very healthy thing for him. It wipes the slate clean of Julia Roberts, and allows him to get on with this Notting Living. But right then, she shows up again to ruin his life. “I want you back,” she says. “I know I’m more awesome than you cause I’m a movie star, but deep down I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

Judy stand up for himself, “You’re just a bit too mean, and you come and go, and when you leave I have to see your picture everywhere. I think I’d like to save myself future heartbreak.” Then he slaps his forehead, “Oh, what am I talking about? Let’s get married!”

They have a big Notting Wedding, but when she’s supposed to walk down the isle, she runs away instead. They try to marry four more times, but she’s always running away at the last second, like some kind of Runaway Bride. Then she leaves Judy and tries to find the love of her life by having sex with men for money, like some kind of Pretty Woman. Then she dies, like some kind of Flatliner.

(three stars)