In terms of romcoms
There are few actors as good
As Hugh fucking Grant
The legend of Hugh
They say to have a successful career, you have to carve out a niche for yourself. Get settled into something you’re really good at. Become indispensable. Be the face of your craft.
I can only hope to achieve any of that. Meanwhile, Hugh Grant’s visage dominates the Mount Rushmore of romcoms, chiseled in stone, forever remembered as That Guy Who Acts In Romantic Comedies. It’s really too bad, because he’ll never be remembered as the guy who for some unknowable reason was cast in Cloud Atlas in this garish role:
But I digress. There’s a reason Grant is cast in so many romcoms – he’s really good at them. And not in the way Michael Cera is good at playing a quiet, downtrodden, lovesick teenager. It’s more than that. Grant just has this appeal, this aura, this sort of lovey-dovey charisma that lends itself to the role. His accent, soft voice, and immaculately coiffed hair all work in perfect harmony to create the ultimate male romantic comedy lead.
The best example of this is Four Weddings and a Funeral which, upon doing a bit of research, shocked me after I learned it was Grant’s breakthrough role. Breakthrough role! This explains everything! Because this movie had everything you’d expect from a Hugh Grant flick, and more.
Hugh Grant being very British ✓
Hugh Grant falling in love with an American he probably isn’t supposed to ✓
Hugh Grant stumbling over words for most of the script ✓
Hugh Grant muttering British obscenities under his breath whenever he gets the chance ✓
Hugh Grant involved in uncomfortable situations simply because he’s Hugh Grant ✓
Hugh Grant eventually winning the girl’s heart ✓
Hugh Grant finding other loud British gentlemen annoying for 117 minutes ✓
And all of this works. Because it’s Hugh fucking Grant and he’s the romcom king we don’t deserve. In the pantheon of all that constitutes romcoms, Hugh Grant sits on the Iron Throne. And in his kingdom, he loves all of you unconditionally.
I won’t be bashing this movie
My reviews recently have…drawn some criticism, to put it nicely. I’ve been accused of poor taste…
…I’ve riled feathers…
…I’ve been told I mess everything up…
…and I’ve been berated from left and right:
I don’t let it get to me, but I am secretly hoping my feelings about this movie will be echoed…FOR ONCE.
So for my last three reviews (no guarantees for From Justin To Kelly, though), I will try to be a little more fair with my assessments. I often chide predictability – well, all movies are predictable in a way, so why am I focusing on it so much? I always bemoan cliches – every movie has cliches, what’s my deal? Look, I’m learning here. As Courtney said, I “know nothing about film.”
With all that in mind, I’m happy to inform you that Four Weddings and a Funeral was a very enjoyable movie. It tracks the love foibles of poor Charles (Grant) by telling his story through, well, four weddings and a funeral. It’s an interesting way to structure a story. That’s another thing I get hung up on all the time. Screw it. Just because this movie was structured differently doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. It added to it in many ways. I liked it. Look, I’m evolving!
Another beef I readily espouse is the lack of humor in these romcoms. A lot of them simply aren’t funny. That opinion, I will defend. But in this movie, the laughs were there. In fact, this was one of the funnier romcoms I’ve watched during the Challenge. This includes a very funny scene where Charles finds himself stuck in a dark room while two newlyweds have gratuitous amounts of sex. He ends up sneaking to a closet and hanging out in there, grimacing with every thrust, and just as he’s ready to leave, the bride says something to the effect of “let’s go again” and his eyes scrunch up in discomfort knowing he’ll have to sit there and listen to the magical sounds of copulation for a little bit longer. Eventually he just exits the closet and presents himself. A scene made funnier, by the way, simply because it was Hugh Grant.
The romantic part of this film was actually very similar to Notting Hill. In both movies, Grant’s character falls for an American who he invariably continues to encounter despite the fact that she always seems to have to return stateside at the worst possible time. The love interest here is Carrie, played by Andie MacDowell, an American who has had 33 sexual partners (including Charles, eventually). She meets Charles at the first wedding and seduces him before, you guessed it, heading back to America. he runs into her at the next wedding, and then is invited to her wedding, where she marries a wealthy Scotsman. Charles, of course, isn’t happy. But he eventually decides to marry his longtime girlfriend. At this wedding, he realizes he wants to marry Carrie and he runs from the altar. In the end he shares a sappy kiss with her in the rain. Happy ending!
Grant and MacDowell have impeccable chemistry, which is why the pairing worked so well. And in romcoms, that’s probably the most important thing. If you have two leads that can’t connect, how will the central theme of the film be memorable? These two are spot on and it is fun to watch. Although at this point, I feel like Hugh Grant could marry a watermelon and it would feel just as romantic because it’s Hugh fucking Grant.
Because You’re Worth It: I watch a lot of TV, mostly ESPN. But I also love the Food Network and one commercial I see constantly is this L’Oreal commercial. And it’s the only exposure to Andie MacDowell I’ve ever had.
Honestly, to my detriment, I had no idea this woman was a Hollywood actress. I thought she was just some model doing shampoo or Revitalift or whatever the hell it is. I don’t know these brands. Imagine my surprise when I watched the movie and saw that she’s not only an actress, she’s a good actress. Nice job, Andie!
Awards: Hugh Grant won a number of awards for this movie – a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, a BAFTA for Best Actor; Four Weddings and a Funeral was even nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Picture. But the best award that Grant won, by far, is the one bestowed upon him by the Chicago Film Critics: Most Promising Actor. First of all, that sounds like the most unintentionally British award of all time. Second, what kind of award is that, even? Most Promising? It sounds almost like a backhanded compliment. Maybe they asked themselves the same questions. The award was discontinued after Patrick Fujit, who has done nothing since Almost Famous, was the final winner in 2001.
Sappiness Rating: Sappiness rating is dumb and it always has been. Who cares? All romcoms are supposed to be sappy and it shouldn’t even matter. C’MON DAVID
Four Weddings and a Funeral will find itself comfortably in the upper echelon of romcoms I’ve watched over the last two months. It also came on the heels of severe blowback from my fans (yes, you all are my fans), and is the first review I’ve written where I really hope I’ve taken a turn for the better as a semi-competent movie reviewer. I’d better get it together if I ever decide to do something like this again. That itch will come someday, I’m sure.