Friday Face/Off: Hugh Grant
Have you ever had such a strong hatred for an actor that you feel incensed by the thought that anyone could actually like them? Or perhaps you have been scorned by someone slagging off your beloved favourite performer? We’ve all been there – it seems that one man’s trash is almost always another man’s treasure. We take a look at some of these troubesome characters who have the ability to divide the nation.
Love him or hate him, everyone has an opinion on the floppy-haired casanova that is Hugh Grant. He certainly sparked a reaction from our writers here at Best for Film! Have a gander at our latest rantings/ravings and let us know which camp you fall into.
For the Prosecution:
I have just searched the internet for images of Hugh Grant in order to provide visual inspiration for my proceeding rant! Having tried to select the pic which most gets my blood boiling (yes, this is how strongly I feel about it!), I find that it is an impossible task. Each one looks out at me with those same pathetic drooping eyes, the caricature grin, the foppish flop of ‘oh it just falls like this’ hair, and hang on, I do hope you’ve washed that white shirt and black blazer combo you seem to be sporting in each and every shot! Turn it off, turn it off!
It’s that age old complaint, Hugh Grant always plays the same character. From Notting Hill (sorry Spike, I love you!) to Bridget Jones’ Diary, from About A Boy to Love Actually, Hughie seems to have built a career on reincarnating the same bumbling British love-fool. I wouldn’t mind so much had the character been interesting to begin with, but how many times can we really be expected to watch him cameo onto our screens, subject us to over an hour of predictably embarrassing mishaps, for which he is ‘terribly sorry’, only to get the girl in the last ten minutes of his exhaustive performance. He adds little dimension to any of his roles and seems to have become complacent in the belief that we will love him any way (as long as he’s tonged his greasy locks that morning).
The perfectly polished, British cad voice only adds to the irritation that is Hugh Grant. And what’s more, starring in all these Hollywood blockbusters, he will fool the entire American population into thinking we all speak in this ‘I’ve got a bad smell up my nose’ manner. I’m sure my Northern twang would give him more than a few sleepless nights!
Ok, so you might argue that it is not darling Hugh who is at fault but the films themselves. But what is it that draws him to these same monotonous roles again and again – besides the obvious wads of cash. Why not try something new , an action film perhaps – cue to wipe the coffee off your screens. No, the damage is done. I would rather him disappear all together into Brill Cream oblivion.
To conclude, I am in no way charmed by this lazy actor. I have seen all that Hugh Grant has to offer and would not pay for a second viewing. Elizabeth Hurley, you are better off without him. After all, his middle name is ‘Mungo’…need I say more?
By Rose Allerston
For The Defence:
Hugh Grant is fabulous. FABULOUS. Not content with embodying an entire cinematic genre, the man effortlessly sports a hairstyle which would leave any other hominid hopelessly crippled, and he’s also starred in every one of Richard Curtis’ wet dreams since 1994. That’s a hell of a CV for a chap whose middle name is Mungo (yet another aspect of him which would be hopelessly wanky on anyone else), and we’ve not even discussed the $2.4 billion his exquisitely endearing bumbling has raked in at the box office. Whether he’s pottering across the screen in Love Actually, Four Weddings or that mad film about the mountain in Wales, we’re there. Because he’s brilliant.
Hughie (as his first film credit renders his charmingly toffee-nosed name) is an absolute master of the irresistibly charming screen persona, exportable between films because it gives us shivers regardless of where it turns up. It’s a rare talent – Robin Williams did something similar before he started recklessly pissing his career away with rubbish like License to Wed, and Colin Firth *swoon* is nearly as good at it and also has a lovely Italian wife. But neither of them can touch HG at his best. The man is a charm dynamo, spewing out achingly cute grimaces and flicks of his luscious schoolboy hair with every cinematic step. Walk into any house in the land, and there will be at least three people who lie awake at night fantasising about running their hands through that glossy mop… anyway. New paragraph, before I get overexcited.
He’s been described as so good at rescuing doomed ventures that “If he’d accompanied Robert Scott to the South Pole, the explorer would have lived to be 100”, and the reason we’ll happily flock to see any old rubbish so long as he’s twinkling away on the poster is this: he doesn’t appear to be an actor. Nobody is remotely willing to believe that Hugh Grant as an entity is any different from William Thacker, failed bookseller and conquistador of Julia Roberts’ endless legs and toothy smile. Surely nobody that toe-curlingly marvellous could actually be putting it on, could they? That’s why we were all so shocked when he was caught in flagrante with that hooker – ill-advised sexual liaisons are more or less par for the course for a lot of Hugh’s contemporaries, but nobody expected it from Captain Charisma. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because we’re disapproving – we just don’t like to imagine him having to limp through the filth of the real world. He deserves better; that’s why we’re always so relieved when he makes his way home to another comforting and safe slice of Richard Curtis’ imagination for a harmless Britcom romp. (As opposed to his other appearances in Richard Curtis’ imagination, which are distinctly less harmless and mostly involve Hughie dressed as Lord Byron and beating Ben Elton to death with a cricket bat. Or wearing nothing at all).
Hugh Grant may not be a paragon of dramatic range, but he’s found his niche and he does what he does with consummate skill. He has single-handedly restructured the international definition of ‘Englishman’ from ‘stuffy, in the closet and badly in need of dental support’ to ‘foppish, charming and a steadfast love interest, provided you’re okay with seventy-five minutes of harmless mishaps first’. And for that alone he is deserving of our praise. Not to mention the hair. Did I mention the hair? It’s lovely, and so is the rest of him. End of.