I want to be Hugh Grant. No, let me rephrase that - I am Hugh Grant...that is, if Hugh Grant was American, twice as befuddled and half as charming. Oh, and really, really tall. What I mean to say is...oh, blast.
In the realm of the chick flick, there is no better model for how to win women without actually being overtly masculine than Hugh Grant. He possesses that sort of easy smile that women swoon over, and there hasn't been a wooing technique so effortless since the days of Gene Kelly. He manages to say what would appear to be the wrong thing, but have it turn out to be exactly perfect (note his little bit about peaches in honey during Notting Hill). Of course, it's all movie magic/hogwash. I'm sure he's really a bastard - but it doesn't prevent me from wanting to learn his technique.
Charles (Hugh Grant), a "serial monogamist" by one ex-girlfriend's account, has been attending friend's weddings for as long as he's been an adult. At one such event where he's the Best Man, he meets Carrie (Andie MacDowell), an American, and he starts to wonder why he's never had a wedding himself. The next nuptials he attends are worse, though. Not only is he seated with nearly every woman he's ever dated, but he finds Carrie is engaged... Thus begins a long heartbreak for Charles.
Grant makes this film work. Say what you want about him, but he really displays some acting chops here. For every befuddled moment, there's an undercurrent of real emotion playing just below the surface of his skin. His eyes are really the most expressive part of his face, and he can say a million different things with them.
Okay, that's THREE paragraphs about Grant, plus a synopsis that mainly focuses on his character. People will start to think funny things.
So, let's talk about Andie MacDowell. God, I can't imagine a more dull performance. Okay, I can understand that she's nice to look at, but why would Grant's character fall for hers? I honestly didn't get it. My theory is that he was struck with her on some minor point, and it turned into a crush, and...
Let me put it down to this - I liked this film because I knew the inside of Charles's brain. I know what it's like to be utterly in love with somebody and then watch her get engaged to another man (I'm so not joking here). The ending of my story wasn't nearly as happy as the end of this one. I also know what it is to be confused about the nature of your relationship with another person.
Barring the fact that this is one of the ultimate "chick flicks," guys who have been burned by (yet still believe in) romance should really find an understanding with the main character. Macho guys who (probably rightly) believe that showing masculinity is one of the keys to being the male half of any relationship should probably avoid this.
Okay, so I haven't actually REVIEWED the film. So sue me. I really can't. I'm unable to say anything cohesive about films that I strongly identify with. Observe the utterly absurd final line in my Almost Famous review...it's BAD. Right. So. I really, really liked Four Weddings and a Funeral. You might not. I've said nothing of any significance to anybody.
Oh, if I was only Hugh Grant.