Friday, May 26, 2006

Gordon Bennetts

Working Title seem to have done a lot of fantastic films – O Brother Where Art Thou, The Big Lebowski, Wish You Were Here, My Beautiful Launderette, The Man Who Wasn’t There, to name a few.

They’ve also been partly responsible for a massive amount of rubbish. Wimbledon – possibly, next to Love, Actually, the worst film ever made. So when I sat down to watch the new version of Pride and Prejudice last night, with Keira Knightley all done up in wispy calico, frolicking with gay abandon across England’s misty fields, I expected it to be bad. I’m happy to say that I was not at all disappointed. It was truly hilarious.

Here are just a few things that I liked about it:
• Mr Bingley’s hair. It seemed to loom larger over his head with every scene, eventually threatening to engulf anyone who approached him in a teetering quiff of tsunamic proportions.
• Donald Sutherland. I’ve always been a bit in love with Donald Sutherland, but after seeing him wax poetic over an enormous pair of pig’s testicles, I’m just open mouthed with admiration. Not too open mouthed though. Those testicles were kind of alarming.
• The statues. Clearly the absence of sex scenes in the film requires losing Lizzy amidst a collection of Roman marbles. Cue many lingering shots of firm stone buttocks and strong manly chests to help prod the audience’s flaccid imagination into a sweaty, gasping frenzy. It takes precious time away from plot and character development, but hey, who cares? Everyone knows the story anyway.
• Mr Darcy. So miserable, he seemed permanently on the verge of tears, yet we know not why. Were his breeches pinching in tender places?
• The alternative U.S. ending. The luminous swans on the lake at Pemberley for instance, must be a result of the high levels of uranium present in the Derbyshire soil in the late 17th Century. And the closing scene... ‘Mrs Darcy… Mrs Darcy… Mrs Darcy…’ Pure genius. Don’t watch it without a bowl handy for those with delicate constitutions.
• Every proposal scene Working Title films include has to take place in the rain, a la Andie MacDowell, because if you’re trying to blink water off your eyelashes, you can’t help but look desperately in love. This is no exception. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
• The dialogue. I don’t know where Deborah Moggach got all that stuff about ribbons from, but dang, it’s good. Jane Austen could learn a thing or two from her and no mistake.

I watched it twice, and it’s even funnier the second time round. I can definitely recommend it.

I’d still rather have Colin Firth wading out of a lake though.
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