OPENS SEPTEMBER 15

It’s extremely refreshing to watch a film where Hugh Grant is not trying to be engaging, but that’s not the principal appeal of this dark comedy, director Mike Newell’s anti-follow-up to Four Weddings and a Funeral. Scripted by Charles Wood, this is the coming-of-age story of Stella (Georgina Cates), a teen-ager who gets an internship with a popular theater company in late-’40s Liverpool. In order to divest herself of her virginity, Stella sleeps with the actor (Alan Rickman) who’s summoned to play Captain Hook in a production of Peter Pan after the original performer is injured. Stella truly loves, however, Meredith Potter (Grant), the company’s bitter, biting artistic director; that Potter is gay is just one of the many things that the self-absorbed Stella doesn’t notice about him. The plot’s kicker is dangerously melodramatic, but the performances and dialogue are sharp and the shabby ambience is impeccable. At area theaters. (Mark Jenkins)