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Arts and Entertainment

Romance with a Cause

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Channel surfing the other night, LAist stumbled upon the recent HBO Film/BBC Production, The Girl in the Café, starring Bill Nighy(humorously unforgettable as the aging rock star in Love Actually) and Kelly Macdonald, most recently seen as Peter Pan in Finding Neverland. Written by British rom-com god Richard Curtis, famous for penning screenplays like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and the aforementioned Love Actually, the film is a romance with a cause.

The story seemingly focuses on the unlikely pairing of a lonely, rigid British government official and a girl that, well, he meets in a café. Set against the background of a G8 Summitin Iceland, the film’s underlying theme is a call for the world’s strongest nations to skip the rhetoric about Africa, debt, trade and AIDS and actually do something about it. It’s mind-blowing when you think about it: Eight world leaders (the U.S., U.K., France, Japan, Russia, Germany, Italy and Canada) have the power of life or death for tens of millions of people worldwide.

HBO's release for The Girl in the Café couldn't be timed much better, with the Live 8 Concerts this past weekend (for the same cause) and the real G8 starting in Scotland tomorrow (July 6-8). To help inform the public about whoa world politics, the network has set up a separate, comprehensive webpage containing information on the summit, the G8's Millennium Development Goals and the ONE Campaign to make poverty history.

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Though the plot is implausible and a bit hokey, the understated acting of Nighy and Macdonald make the film worth watching. And while we're sure that the liberally bent, propagandistic message will no doubt be a turn off for some, but stumbling across The Girl in the Café was a quite refreshing respite from a summer awash in CSI repeats and Dancing with the Stars .

Check HBO's full schedulefor showing information.