'Pirate Radio' (Focus Features)

Tethered to reality by only a slender thread, Pirate Radio quickly cuts loose and floats off into its own imaginary layer of the Earth's atmosphere, where only good-hearted, pleasant-thinking, die-hard romantics can survive. Welcome home, Richard Curtis, where have you been?

Writer/director Curtis rose to fame on the basis of his screenplay for Four Weddings and a Funeral, featuring an ensemble of quirky yet appealing men and women chasing love and happiness, followed, notably, by his script for Notting Hill, but he's been writing off-kilter comedy sketches and episodic television for many years. Pirate Radio proves that his gift for writing witty one-liners and creating funny situations remains intact. His skills as a film director and shaper of material are a little more fuzzy and undefined, however.

As with Love, Actually, his previous directorial effort, Pirate Radio (AKA The Boat That Rocked) is filled with episodes that feel randomly assembled, knit together by proximity and happenstance more than narrative necessity. For all the laughter and positive feelings that Pirate Radio generates, it's a lightweight treatment of a potentially heavyweight subject.