Romantic Comedy

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding - Review

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.

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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.

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Heartbreaker (15)

They flipped for this romantic comedy in its native France, but I'm not sure it will tweak as many funny bones over here. (They also loved time-travel farce Les Visiteurs, remember).

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