Richard Curtis’s sprawling ensemble piece should have been the romantic comedy to end all romantic comedies. (Alas, it wasn’t; his Christmastime look at a cross-section of Londoners in love is the obvious inspiration for Garry Marshall’s inferior Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve.) Having perfected his rom-com formula with the scripts for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, he made his directing debut with this ambitious attempt to explore seemingly every kind of love: romantic, platonic, adulterous, unrequited, fraternal, marital, puppy. And to do so, he seems to have enlisted every British actor not then currently busy making a Harry Potter movie: regular Curtis leading man Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, and Martin Freeman, as well as Laura Linney and Billy Bob Thornton (all Curtis movies have a token Yank or two). The film made a star out of Bill Nighy (as a hilariously frank middle-aged rock star) and introduced audiences to January Jones. The movie offers something for everyone, a full panoply of laughter and tears, and it seems custom-made to watch on TV whenever you’re sick at home or otherwise in need of something to make you feel happy. Really, what more can you ask of a comedy?