Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Question for the Week of Aug 6-12: Hugh Grant Romcom Hoax

Considering the way he acted, why didn't one Hugh Grant romantic comedy have a more likely storyline: that the love interest thinks he's gay, and he's gotta convince her otherwise?

In many ways, some Hugh Grant romcoms could've been a franchise called C-3PO in Love. My favorite golden robot may be a lot of things, but "lady-killer" wasn't one of them. In films like About A Boy and Notting Hill, it's like 3PO took on human form and is trying to work on more intimate relationships - but with women, for some reason...

Synchronicity is weird: a coworker mentioned Grant, I was looking at a list of genre pix, and it hit me: Hugh Grant was often cast in romantic comedies where he bumbled his way thru most encounters with his object of affection. He'd often be so awkward or so... delicate. Enough so that he might come off as trying to figure out how to act around women.

Or, perhaps - and for lack of a better word - a lot like a dandy.

Maybe acting like Grant does in Notting is more likely for that genre. After all, the romantic comedy is meant to be light, so acting like a nervous teen might be considered funny... and an un-smooth male lead may be more sympathetic. But if those elements are common to this type of film, they seem excessive in the typical Hugh Grant role.

Of course, thinking about this lead me to pitch a story line to myself. Try this, I came up with it:

A woman meets Hugh Grant, and he acts just like he always does. She naturally assumes that he's very gay. Now, he's got to show her that he isn't, before he can even take a shot.

As Hugh talks to and/or helps his assorted friends, the cliches of so many romcoms kick in: his buddy needs to crash for the night... but he sleeps nude! Grant comforts a crying galpal or sister during her spa day; they exit and the woman spots him holding bath oils! He tells the female lead they should go into a pub and get a drink - while standing in front of The Stonewall Inn!

The B-plot event of whatever he's going through while trying to date this woman - maybe searching through abandoned buildings and property for a lost musical manuscript - has an impact on Grant. With the support of his various friends, and some other thing like a kid/pet/homeless guy/kindergarten fundraiser, Hugh manages to change the opinion of his crush, and they fall in love.
Obviously, there's nothing "wrong" with being gay - or even very gay - but I know what I might think of the stuttering and stammering so common to Hugh Grant parts. Sometimes he uses silly/corny words. Sometimes his voice gets kind of weird. And he may do all this while using a lot of hand gestures. Yet he almost never plays a very... physical? person...

At some point, I gotta think a woman's either going to think that he can't bring himself to come out (and, of course, he should), or she'll assume he's trying to get comfortable around women.

Now, I'm not claiming that people have to match stereotypes - it's one of the reasons I hated Frank Oz's In & Out. Guys who gesture a lot and have high voices don't all "play for the other team." And, hell, who cares if they did...

Yet, in the world of dating - where people can judge you hyper-fast, superficially, and/or because of random stuff that's inaccurate or whatever - it is so bloody likely that any woman would think that a Hugh Grant romantic comedy is gonna be all about the man-love.


  1. "My favorite golden robot may be a lot of things, but "lady-killer" wasn't one of them."

    AHAHA! Perfect comparison. And I'm with you all the way. I don't normally watch Hugh Grant movies, but I would definitely watch the one you pitched. Too funny, and too true. Excellent post!

    1. Thank you so much! If you watch these two clips, it's amazing because he's like 3PO talking before he gets blown up to bits. I'm pretty sure I'd talk myself out of getting some - no matter how pretty I look - if I spoke to women that way...

      Thanks again! That was my first official pitch - and, btw, my movie wouldn't have the typical romcom thing where everybody's white; I might leave Hugh as the sole honkey on-scren...


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