This weekend the affable, lovable national treasure that is Bridget Jones returned to our screens, a few years older and a few pounds lighter yet equally as charming as she was 15 years ago.
Bridget Jones’ Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason were probably the first examples of a rom com that I can remember being exposed to. They’re films that your mum loves, and despite having a few blue jokes they are fun for all the family, and I have fond memories of them. Yet after we met Bridget in 2001, it’s as though her success ruined the genre.
After Bridget it’s like Rom Coms were ruined for us, they grew a stigma, and were thrown in a bin labelled ‘chick-flicks’ – pandering, insulting films made to appeal to women.
Romantic comedy is a genre that got lazy. You don’t need a dramatic wedding crasher, or a mad dash through the streets of some romantic city chasing what may or may not be the love of your life (depending on what the other person in the love triangle has to say). What a good rom com needs is its characters. Well defined, fleshed out, characters with their own quirks and faults and histories.
These films aren’t bad, they’re just what people think they want. People don’t know what they want, in reality. The soul of the rom com comes from two people, who really shouldn’t be together, but we, as an audience are willing it to happen. How can’t they see they’re perfect for each other? Because you wouldn’t see it yourself if it happened to you.
The reasons rom coms work better than just a plain old romance or is because falling in love is funny. Things don’t go the way you want them too. Romances are too stiff, too perfect, and I don’t know a single person with the perfect relationship. Someone’s always going to do something stupid and sure, it may not be funny at the time, but it will be, and these movies show us that.
Rom coms are there to show us that happiness can come from the most unlikely of places, if only you can see past the expectations and follow your heart. Bridget Jones returned to our screens looking a bit different, but with the same story. Two men fighting for her attention, or well, the baby that belongs to one of them. Actually it’s the same story with a baby involved. Should she go with the man that is perfect for her or the one that she’s loved essentially all her life?