Arts and Entertainment

There’s a bit in the middle of Mad About the Boy when the agent for Bridget’s screenplay – a modern interpretation of Hedda Gabler set in Queen’s Park – sends her a strange email. “We have a couple of responses on your script,” he writes. “They are passing. The themes are fascinating but they’re wanting more of a romcom feel. I’ll keep trying.” It could be a coincidence, but by this point it reads like a coded SOS from the author. The book is at its best when it is a poignant comic novel about a 51-year-old woman struggling to bring up children after the sudden death of her husband. It is hit-and-miss when it’s about a 51-year-old Bridget Jones who struggles with all the TV remotes and counts nits instead of Chardonnays. But on occasion it becomes a parody of a Richard Curtis film, or even worse an American sitcom, and that of course is v v bad.

DVD: Friends With Kids

When Harry Met Sally with nappies, Friends With Kids stars its writer-director, Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein), as a thirtysomething Manhattanite who decides to have a baby with her platonic pal, Adam Scott.

Men and women CAN be friends - men are just more likely to want more

A scientific survey has claimed that different genders can't be friends with each other, but real-life proves this wrong.

DVD & Blu-ray reviews

The Five-Year Engagement (15) Nicholas Stoller, DVD/Blu-ray (124mins) ****

Beasts of the Southern Wild, BFI London Film Festival

Beasts of the Southern Wild, a deliciously dreamy tale about a fictional Bayou community in the backwaters of Louisiana, does not so much jump off the screen as float effortlessly off it.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (12) Lasse Hallstrom DVD/Blu-ray (106mins)

Paul Torday’s satirical novel is more affecting and less upbeat, but Simon Beaufoy’s adaptation is single-handedly redeemed by an endearing Emily Blunt as Harriet, a well-heeled consultant who persuades Ewan McGregor’s uptight scientist in a sheikh’s loopy scheme to introduce salmon into the desert of Yemen.

Rom-coms? Film-makers prefer real love, actually

A new generation of film-makers is turning the rom-com on its head with barbed and believable tales that often, at last, centre on the woman’s perspective, says Nick Hasted

The 10 Best photography books

From Magnum contact sheets to portraits by Mario Testino, there’s something here for everyone to feast their eyes on...

DVD/Blu-ray: This Means War (12)

What on earth's happened to Reese Witherspoon and the actress that shone in Alexander Payne's Election?

The Players (18)

Mon Dieu, what a fall from grace is here.

One minute with...Eoin Colfer, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Uggie the wonder dog from the French movie 'The Artist'

Uggie the dog quits showbusiness career

Uggie, the canine star of the Oscar-winning film The Artist, became the first dog to put its paw prints in cement outside the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

The big ask: Emily Blunt and Jason Segel in 'The Five-Year Engagement'

The Five-Year Engagement (15)

The most abused of all movie genres, romantic comedy nowadays gets a pass just by managing not to be contemptible. You have to blame the scripts in the main, but it's also curious how so many of its bankable stars fail the basic test of charm. Has anyone ever liked Gerard Butler in a romantic comedy? Film critics, who see these "romcoms" (ugh) week in, week out, have learnt to approach them with caution: the best you can hope for is some freshness in the playing, a few laughs, and a pinch of real feeling.

In Dead Space 3 your buddy just might hear you scream

But just how much does bringing a friend along diminish the franchise's signature atmosphere?

'Ill Manors' has been praised for depicting life as it is among crack addicts

Ill Manors, Ben Drew, 116 mins (18)
A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Crispian Mills, 100 mins (15)

Hey, mate! What can you do except swear a lot and wear unflattering trackies?

Observations: Looking on the bright side of a Dark Horse

Given Todd Solondz's reputation for controversy, his sidestepping of provocative subject matter makes his new film, Dark Horse, seem almost quaint in comparison with his masterwork, Happiness.

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Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
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Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice