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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VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

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Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
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Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

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Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

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Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

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General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

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Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

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