Take a Drink: for alliteration
Take a Drink: for indoor smoking
Take a Drink: “Paddling Pool”
Take a Drink: for uncomfortable humor and awkward silences
Take a Drink: for faux-literary pretension
Take a Drink: for panties of every form and function
Do a Shot: for big romantic kisses
By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –
I’m married, and being married means watching your spouse’s kind of movie every once in awhile. Now, to be fair, I afflict her with many more terrible films than she does me, and usually her picks are pretty damn awesome, but, I don’t know how else to put this… she made me watch Bridget Jones’s Diary last week.
Legally spousal abuse in 17 states
If you don’t know already, the film is about a 30 plus year old single British woman (played by the only non-Brit in the cast, Renee Zellweger) who is awkward in the British sense (think: Ricky Gervais). this generally disagreeable woman somehow attracts the attentions of two even more disagreeable fellows, the incorrigible playboy/borderline rapist Hugh Grant and frigid asshole Colin Firth. Who will she end up with? Who cares?
Now, it’s important to note that I didn’t go into this film expecting to hate it.
Unlike when I’m inevitably coerced into this.
I really like Richard Curtis, who co-wrote the film, with Love, Actually and his big finale, About Time, never failing to hit me straight in the feels. I figured this would be typical romcom inanity, like all those pre-McConaissance flicks that it’s so hard to hate… I love you, Terry Bradshaw! Nope.
I do have to say one thing- kudos to Renee Zellweger, who gives an absolutely fearless performance along the lines of Al Pacino in Jack and Jill. It’s pratfall-full, nail-bitingly embarrassing, utterly egoless acting and definitely deserves a raise of the glass (that Oscar nomination… eh?)
I’m not a big fan of cringe humor, and that’s this film’s only weapon. Its attempt at witty or crude banter are more limp than Ron Jeremy at the Republican National Convention, and whenever a line Droopy Dogs its way into oblivion, you know another painful public speech or underwear flash is not far… behind.
Now, I didn’t say I could do better…
Curtis doesn’t direct this, though, which is kind of unfortunate because Sharon Maguire’s work is flat and uninspiring. Worse, though, is the soundtrack, which manages to be clichéd and ire-raising at the same time. It’s mostly a mix of slow jams and tooth-rotting elevator music-level pop. Good news is, my ears eventually scabbed over.
Calling a romcom out for being predictable and by the numbers is kind of like criticizing the crippled kid in class for his dodgeball skills, but since Bridget Jones’s Diary tries to be all “real” and “edgy” and shit, how formulaic its understructure is feels disappointing. It also manages to make the normal romcom conventions feel even more emotionally dishonest.
Good thing for Renee that Colin’s fiancée is mildly bitchy!
Speaking of that… both of Renee’s potential choices of mate are just terrible people. Grant is a Grade A creeper with Hugh Grant’s face, which makes it okay I guess. Recast him with Clint Howard and it’s straight up a horror film. Firth on the other hand is an emotionally closed down, two-timing douche, with a serious temper. Honestly, all of the characters in the film (like her super-mean friends) are awful on some level, which brings me to…
… the subplot that is the shit frosting on this cake. Bridget’s mom (Gemma Jones) is bored, so she runs off and enthusiastically bangs a sleezy infomercial spokesman, while dear old Dad (Jim Broadbent) just kinds puts up with it. Then, she decides to come back when she got bored with him, I guess. Here’s how that goes:
Mom: “Sorry for cheating, but pay attention to me more.”
Dad: “I… I don’t know how I’ll ever trust you again…” SIKE!
Actual Dad: “Welcome back, whatever you say, honey!”
What kind of bargain basement life lesson, aggressively anti-realistic bullshit is this?
Our marriage is stronger than ever!
What a load of shite. Harrumph.
Last Call: Stick around during the credits for some mild child pornography.