O readers, there has been a specter looming on the edge of Austen life. Something dark. Something chilling. Something so terrible as to render us speechless thus far. And I’m here to tell that it is REAL. And we’re going to have to talk about it.
I’m speaking, of course, of the shadow of a third Bridget Jones movie.
Let me first say: I ADORE the original Bridget Jones’s Diary (film more so than novel). It strikes me as one of a few modern romantic comedies that is both actually romantic and actually a comedy; I own it, yet also watch it on TBS at all possible junctures; desert island, blah blah blah. I also really love Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (novel MUCH more so than terrible film)–it’s ridiculous (Thai prison?) but also rather sweet (The Velveteen Rabbit analogy). So let’s establish that I’m no hater. I’m not gonna hate! I just want things to be good.
And, you guys, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS.
Sure, I mean, we haven’t seen Renee Zellweger OR Hugh Grant in awhile, and Hollywood abhors a career break. But there are other ways! (Surely there are other ways.) Renee, find an occasion to smile in such a way that we can see your teeth! Hugh, I’m not actually clear on why your celebrity stock has fallen so precipitously, but find a reputable project and do it! No more of this “Sarah Jessica Parker and I are almost divorced and stuck in the American West” nonsense. We know you can do better, and we’re sure some indie director would love to have you on the rolls. Now self-deprecate your way back into our hearts, will you?
And, well, Colin, we know you probably just didn’t want to be the guy holding up the entire production…but you have an Oscar now. You can BE the guy holding up the entire production, and we will totally understand! You are now allowed to exercise your common sense! (On the other hand, the only thing worse than Bridget Jones 3 is Bridget Jones 3 without the charmifying presence of Mark Darcy and his reindeer jumpers. So, actually, forget I said anything.)
My greatest fear, here, is that a third movie will include yet another takeoff of one of the greatest scenes in all of filmdom–by which I mean the street fight(…ish) between Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy, or Hugh Grant and Colin Firth flailing hilariously at each other to the beat of The Weathergirls’ “It’s Raining Men.” The creators of Edge of Reason clearly understood the great comic value of the original scene and tried to re-create it, mostly unsuccessfully, in a fountain. I’m not sure this world can handle another sad iteration.
Of course, it’s entirely (or at least vaguely) possible that Bridget Jones 3 (I just can’t call it BJ3) might not be the worst thing ever. Among the deep dark sea of buzz about it, there are two tiny pinholes of light: 1) The movie may not be the product of a room full of middle-aged male execs pulling ideas out of the air and looking to salvage a series (“I’ve got it! Bridget gets a pet chimp! Ladies love chimps, right?”). Or, it may not totally be that. Helen Fielding is apparently typing out a third novel as we speak, which one hopes is going straight from her hard drive to the screenwriter’s/producers’ brains. The timing of this seems suspect, but if Aaron Sorkin can do it and win and Oscar, who are we to judge? Also: 2) Paul Feig, director of of Bridesmaids/Freaks and Geeks/The Office fame, is apparently in talks to direct. Now THAT, might be an actual upside. The man knows both cringe-inducing comedy and the heart behind it, and might be able to unbreak the hearts of Bridget fans everywhere.
We can only hope.
“Thank you! Thank you! No…really. Thank you.
I’d like to thank the Academy for this great, great honor, as well as my beautiful wife, Livia, and all of the exceptional professional people who have made this work possible.
But let’s be honest: In 1995, I dive into a pond in my riding breeches and a very white shirt; fifteen years later, I win an Academy Award. You do the math. And so I’d like to thank Jane Austen for creating such a complex character, who happens to also wear high-waisted pants and tall top hats, and enjoy stalking in and out of rooms in the name of frustrated love. I’d like to thank Helen Fielding for creating a postmodern Darcy, so that I might later beat the crap out of a perfectly sleazy Hugh Grant, hilariously, as “It’s Raining Men” plays in the background. I’d like to thank the internet and the thousands of lust-wild fangirls who kept my name and image so alive there all these years, mostly for not-very-pure purposes. Not that I’ve looked, or, for that matter, posed as the internet handle ‘FitzyMcHotBuns’ to contribute to the conversation. I’d like to thank those same lust-wild fangirls, whose demographic aligns nearly perfectly with the entire viewing audience of The Last Legion, and so on. Ladies, you know who you are. And so I dedicate this award—this bastion of old-Hollywood dignity and glamour—to you, Jane Austen, and to your faithful, man-crazy protegees. In the spirit of a massive canon of dirty fanfiction, I salute you.”
No, Colin. We salute YOU.