Whoopsidaisies! It’s Hughsday, June 24, 2010

How much Hugh Grant can one woman stand?  Today I will find out, as I watch, in a single day, every romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant.  This is no quick task as, by my count and definition, there are 10 of them. I’ll be updating this post as my day progresses, and in the days to come, will give full reviews of my favourites from today.

I began this morning at 9 a.m. with the lovely Notting Hill and will then move through the others with the determination of the Karate Kid, the open mind of a scientist, and the bleary eyes of a late-night truck driver hauling a load of about-to-expire seafood down the I-95.  At the end of this marathon, will I be more convinced than ever that Hugh Grant reigns as the most charming male rom-com lead ever, or will I find that I am just a girl, standing in front of a TV, asking it to never show me Hugh Grant again?  We shall see:

Film 1:  Notting Hill (1999)

Rating: Excellent

9:30 a.m.     William Thacker is a lonely bloke living in London, and he tells us his wife left him for someone who looks exactly like Harrison Ford. That’s suspicious because she was just married to someone who looked exactly like Hugh Grant.  William is lucky to be rid of her.

10:06 a.m.  William brings home actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) in one of the best meet-the-family scenes is all of film. Very real and funny, and immediately followed by the fence-climbing “whoopsidaisies” scene.

10:45 a.m.  Hugh’s taking out Julia’s trash, while a young Alec Baldwin watches on.  William didn’t know Anna had a boyfriend.   He’s sad and says to his extremely useless roommate: “It’s as if I’ve taken love heroin and I can’t ever have it again.”  What will become of him? Probably nothing good if he doesn’t take five seconds to clean up his sodding house.

11:00 a.m.  Hughspeak: “Sod off!” = go away.

11:20  a.m.  And Notting Hill comes to a close in a final scene reminiscent of the end of Roman Holiday, only happier and more floppy-haired.

Film 2:  Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Rating: Good

11: 30 a.m.  Smoking, drinking, splotchy complexion,  and dressed like “she just stepped out of Auschwitz,”  Bridget Jones herself  is a disaster. How long will I have to wait before Hugh Grant steps in and brightens up the scenery?

12:01 p.m.  Oh dear. It’s a rude slutty Hugh Grant versus a deadpan Colin Firth in a reindeer sweater.  Bridget is delusional and Hugh is going to crush her like chaulk under a hammer. He’s got cruelty in his eyes, and he’s just left her at a tarts and vicars party.

12:19  p.m.  Hugh is pure evil but he’s got a sweet library in his house. That’s got to be worth something.

12:27  p.m.  Hugh says “Sod off!”

12:43 p.m.  Hugh has come to the door and ruined Bridget’s dinner party and a lovely date with Colin Firth. Hugh is so bad. But so good. So good at being bad! He’s repugnant–I hate him! Yet, I love him! I hate to love him! Now there’s a gorgeous fist-fight breaking out in the street outside Bridget’s house!

1:02 p.m.  I enjoyed that movie more than I thought I would. Forgot lunch groceries and spent the last half of the movie gnawing on old bread and Swedish Berries.

Film 3:  Bridget Jones’s Diary 2: The Edge of Reason (2004)

Rating: Sodding rotten.

1:15 p.m.  I have a mind-numbing headache right now. It’s too early for H.G. overdose, isn’t it? It must be the lack of food, and the fact that I have yet to locate a copy of Mickey Blue Eyes to watch before the day is through. But I’ll worry about that later. It’s time for Bridget Jones 2.  It’s been five minutes. Where’s Hugh?

2:17 p.m. Making Mexican stew while I wait for Hugh.

2:32 p.m. Hugh’s a scallywag! Why is she falling for this again?  I suppose as Bridget says: everyone deserves a second chance except Hitler.  I watch intently, Mexican Stew falling down the front of my blouse.

 3 p.m.  This movie was bad.  Sod off, Bridget Jones!

Film 4:  Music and Lyrics (2007)

Rating: Good.

3:09 p.m.  Nothing pulls one out of a Bridget Jonesesque funk like Hugh Grant dancing. In this movie, Hugh is an 80’s pop has-been and knows how to shake that can. Love the faux video at the start of the movie. My spirits are lifting. I’m massaging my temples, whispering reassuringly to myself, and settling into the couch with a fresh Diet Coke.

3:29 p.m.  Hugh to the hungry crowd:  “Girls — tell me the truth! Are these pants too tight?”

3:40 p.m. Hugh schools all of you book snobs with his artistic truisms: “You can take all the novels in the world and not one of them will make you feel as good as fast as ‘I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.’  That is real poetry. Those are real poets. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, The Beatles.”

4:oo p.m.  Hugh: “Shove off!” (Not sod off, SHOVE off.)

4:50 p.m.  Movie is over. I had a good time watching this one and even sang along with Hugh’s final performance; but  at the same time, I feel kind of sick to my stomach, the way one feels after they’ve eaten a whole bucket of KFC chicken.  But onward. Onward.

Film 5:  Nine Months (1995)

Rating: Pass on this one.

5:02 p.m.  I’ve begun Nine Months, laying here listless on the couch. Hugh Grant is a child psychologist, afraid of becoming a father.  I am a film reviewer, afraid of becoming suicidal.

5:45 p.m.  My eyes are very tired and Hugh Grant has very effeminate hair in this film, and sometimes as a scene fades in, I mistake him for Keira Knightley or a Nazi scientist. What’s happening to me?

6:08 p.m.  No rom-com man is better at apologizing than Hugh Grant.  “I was a disgrace,” he says, in his fumbling bumbling way.  That would be pure rubbish coming from anyone else.

6:30 p.m.   Last scene is sweet: Hugh Grant up late in the livingroom, rocking his little baby in his arms.  Kudos to Hugh, who has a unique ability to make you forget just how bad the last 90 minutes of a movie was.

Film 6:  Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)

Rating: Kind of cute in ways but not great.

8:20 p.m.  I’m showered and refreshed and stuffed full of pepperoni and cream puffs. There are friends, a husband, and a dog here watching this movie with me so I know that if I start to fall asleep, someone will poke me with a stick.

8:46 p.m.  In this movie, Hugh is paired up with Sarah Jessica Parker as husband and wife New Yorkers, separated for the last few months because he cheated. But after witnessing a murder, they’ve been sent into the witness protection program together and are hiding away in Ray, Wyoming. Although the script is flawed in many ways, Hugh’s angst and English-boy propriety is extra-amusing in a small-town setting.

9:09 p.m.  “Bollocks!” yells Hugh.

9:51 p.m.   “Ow! Bollocks!” yells Hugh.

10:01 p.m.  Though Hugh Grant kept me sufficiently amused throughout, this movie was not very good. But most importantly, I’m still awake — alive and kicking and moving on to film number 7.  Some say I will give up before the final credits of film number 10. To that, I yell “Bollocks!”

Film 7: Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Rating: Decent enough. If you like Sandra Bullock, go for it.

10:20 p.m.   The movie started, I saw Hugh Grant’s face, and I felt myself recoil like I’d been smacked in the kisser with a wet mackerel. The first hint of displeasure with Hugh! The first sign that perhaps I do have my limits afterall.

10:57 p.m.  Hugh: “There’s something amuck with this sponge cake.”

11:22 p.m.  Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant — two actors who play the exact same character in almost every film.  Under normal circumstances, I would find this kind of character stability comforting and cute, but now I just want to slam their predictable heads together like two clanking coconuts.

11:59 p.m.  Sandra and Hugh proclaim their love for one another and she finally orders Chinese takeout for two instead of one.  Well la dee da. Sod off, Sandra. Next!

Film 8:  Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)

Rating: Okay. But not really a rom-com.

12:03 a.m.   My anger seems to have passed, and Hugh is starting to feel like an old friend now.  An old friend that won’t leave my house so I can go to bed, but an old friend even still.

12:07 a.m.  Hugh Grant’s girlfriend in this film has his hair from Nine Months.

12:50 a.m.  Got too cozy on the couch — fell asleep and woke five minutes later to find Hugh Grant scrubbing blood out of a stuffed monkey then hanging it to dry over a sink.

1:07 a.m.   Hugh Grant trying to master American gangster-speak — funny. Like the time we all got together and tried to make our British friend Jon say “fart” like a Canadian.

1: 25 a.m.  I’m awake and everyone I know is asleep. Bollocks.

Film 9: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Rating: Very good.

1:30 a.m.   I’ve been looking forward to watching this one, so I chose it for my second last film in order to keep  motivated in the home stretch.

2:11 a.m.  I absolutely defy you to watch the scene where Andie MacDowell tries on wedding dresses for Hugh Grant and tell me he does not look like a poorly-dressed woman.  This is one thing I have learned about Hugh Grant today: he is the quintessential rom-com male, but he could also be the quintessential he/she if he really wanted to give it a go.

2:45 a.m.  “Bollocks!!”

3:11 a.m.  This is a great movie, and well worth all the nonsense I waded through today to get here. I love that some of the key moments at the end of the film are done quietly, in sign language with captions.

Film 10:  Love Actually (2003)

Rating: Excellent

 3:20 a.m.  Merry Christmas! I have arrived: film 10 and hour 18 in my Hughsday marathon. I’m awake, I’m fairly lucid, and I’ve been eating the same warm cheese since 8 p.m. I open my last bottle of Diet Coke (8th of the day) as the beautiful Keira Knightley enters through the back of the church and Prime Minister Hugh Grant’s motorcade arrives at his residence. We also see Colin Firth again, only this time he and Hugh are not going to scratch out each other’s eyes in the streets of London. Or are they?

4:22 a.m.  Hour 19. While Colin Firth and Aurelia flap about in the lake, trying to retrieve his papers, I reflect on my day and declare in the name of science that no, there is no such thing as too much Hugh Grant. If I haven’t tired of him after 19 hours, will I ever?  And if you tire of him after 19  hours, then you are weak-minded and it has nothing to do with any inadequacies on Hugh’s part. Am I clear?

4:43 a.m.  I highly recommend a Hugh Grant marathon, but try a mini one and choose from these films: Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Music & Lyrics, and About a Boy (not on my list because it’s not a romantic comedy, but it’s one of my favourite films).

4:47 a.m.  The sun is starting to rise and the first birds of the morning are chirping. If I listen closely, I can hear what they’re saying: “Sod off, sunlight! We’re trying to sleep!”

5:30 a.m.  The final airport scene: the main characters all arrive at various points through the gates. Hugh is greeted by his girl and they kiss and in slow motion, he straightens his coat, smiles at the crowd, and leaves the scene and my life. Forever. With that, I say goodnight — to Hugh and to you!

Paula Jane

Image: Castle Rock Entertainment
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