If Arnold Schwarzenegger personifies American cinema – powerful, symbolic and domineering – then British cinema would have to be Hugh Grant – bumbling, unsure and frankly, a pain in the arse to watch. There’s one person more than any other to blame for this, and funnily enough, it’s not Hugh Grant himself. No, the person mainly responsible for the current image of British cinema is Richard Curtis, the softly spoken, bespectacled ginge behind some of our country’s most financially successful movies. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not the most deathly boring, stereotypical, chuckle-free movies you’ll see produced this side of the Atlantic. Frankly, I’d rather watch old people fucking.
Fair enough, he’s got a fairly good pedigree, and you can’t ignore the fantastic TV series like Blackadder and Spitting Image on his resume. There’s no resting on your laurels in this business however, and despite the sterling work he’s done on the telly, his recent movies are absolutely atrocious portrayals of Great Britain, painting the British as incompetent but lovable oafs; well-meaning fools that are constantly misunderstood and always fall frightfully in love with the wrong people. After watching a Richard Curtis movie, you may feel a sudden desire to introduce a shotgun to the roof of your mouth to try and shoot the memories out.
Four Weddings and a Funeral. Absolutely one of the most overrated British movies in history, which is also responsible for bringing Hugh Grant to the attention of bean-flicking housewives the world over. Hugh’s bungling character falls in love with a girl he shouldn’t, runs around like the posh, overpaid twat he is and swears a lot. There’s a character in it called Fuckface! Ahahahaha! See, look how edgy British cinema is now we’re in the nineties! Awful.
Notting Hill. Only a Richard Curtis film could have a movie set in Notting Hill – that’s the most diverse, multi-cultural area in the whole of London – and not have it feature a single black person. Instead, we’re introduced to Hugh Grant’s bungling bookstore owner, who – gasp – falls in love with someone he shouldn’t and pratfalls his way through 2+ hours of tedium in the desperate attempt to get a whiff of Julia Roberts. It’s an uncanny representation of British life today (if you’re white, rich and annoying).
Bridget Jones’s Diary. A mind-numbing movie that should have stayed a book, aimed solely at fat old spinsters that sit at home on a Friday night in their pyjamas, gorging on chocolate and sobbing tears of woe down their porky cheeks. It also features Hugh Grant, but – get this – this time, he’s the cad! What genius playing against type! If you like this movie, you are a woman or a homosexual, it’s been proved in labs. Scores high on the shit-o-meter for featuring Colin Firth, another black hole of talent.
Love Actually. Stars Hugh Grant, as a bungling… oh for fuck’s sake, aren’t you sick of this yet? All you need to know is that he falls for someone he shouldn’t (lower class this time – daring) and rather than have one irritating storyline to follow, there’s ten, with each character ten times more plummy and a hundred types more bland than the last. Another back-slapping luvvie-fest that’s about as accurate about British life as a Blackpool postcard.
It’s not enough that his films are dire, but the man himself is an absolute excitement vacuum who has about as much charisma as glass of water. Enjoy some of his trivia from IMDB: “When he was in college, his girlfriend left him for a man named Bernard. In each of his screenplays, there is a fairly unpopular character named Bernard.” Whoah, steady on Richard! He might even figure out you’re talking about him! “I didn’t decide to be a writer. I wanted to be an actor and I turned out to be very bland, so I would always get cast as a character from Twelfth Night called Fabian, who hides behind the hedge and doesn’t have any funny lines.” You know why they put you behind that hedge? Because just to look at you makes peoples’ teeth fall out of their mouths from sheer boredom. It’s a scientific fact that time goes twice as slow when Richard Curtis is in the room.
You can’t blame Americans for ridiculing us Brits when they see the kind of films that Curtis writes. Between him and Guy Ritchie, we’ve become known throughout the world as either floppy-haired halfwits or gun-toting cockney wideboys who’d slam your head in a car door if you so much as looked at us. Jesus, we’ve got enough problem shaking off our ancient snooty image as it is without Richard casting Hugh fucking Grant as prime minister in his movie. Compare Curtis’ movies with the work of someone like Shane Meadows and see just how big the gulf is between the two – one is making low budget, genuinely funny and true-to-life British movies, the other is living in a dream world, hiring his posh friends to appear in his multi-million pound endeavours before driving home in his Rolls, listening to Ronan Keating and thinking to himself how wonderful life is. “You won’t find many people who’ve had an easier ride in movies than I,” he says. No fucking disagreement here, pal.
And don’t even get me started on The Vicar of cunting Dibley.