The Language of Lust
IS it the perfect nose? The chiselled cheekbones? The finely-drawn mouth? The crinkly blue eyes? The fabulous floppy hair? The broad-shouldered, flat-stomached, snake-hipped, bad boy bod?
Well, yes, it's all of these things that make Hugh Grant a total sex god, but most of all it's the way he says: "Oh, f***."
No-one swears as sexily as Grant. Even as a hopeless fop in Four Weddings And A Funeral and a stuttering, limp-dick dag in Notting Hill, it was sexy when he swore.
But as all-out bastard Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones's Diary, each utterance of the F word is nothing short of devastating. In fact, every moment Grant is on screen in this movie he sets it on fire. Along with most of the audience.
So how ironic, after all his success as the sensitive type women are supposed to long for (clearly, we were lying), that it's as the devil in Bridget Jones's Diary that he has really found his metier. Lucky Miss Jones, I say.
Indeed there were moments during the private screening of the film when Grant's performance made me howl and yodel like a hungry dog at a sausage sizzle.
Most particularly the moment when Dan Dan the Wham Bam Man first kisses Bridget - which is without doubt the sexiest kiss in cinematic history. Only a woman director could have understood that this was the moment - The Kiss - which would be the peak experience of the film for a female audience. Awrooooooooooo!
The kiss with Colin Firth isn't bad, either - first-time director Sharon Maguire is clearly a top kiss meister - but the Hugh kiss is bliss. The camera is so in there from every angle it's a virtual reality experience in full snog-surround. And the way the lens lingers, you just can't help feeling that everyone on the set thought Grant was sexier than Firth, too.
The only problem with Grant's on-screen nuclear fission is that for anyone other than diehard fans of Firth, a bunch still in lust after his first Darcy role in Pride And Prejudice, he totally steals the film.
Not having seen that particular bonnet and bon mots series*, I found it impossible to believe that any woman could choose the pasty-faced, humourless, thin-lipped, boofhead, clodhopper that is Mark Darcy over the suave and savagely witty Mr Cleaver and his knowing smile. Awrooooooooooo!
And the badder he gets, the better it is. Much mileage is made in the film out of just how attractive blokes look in tailored clothes. Even a non-fan like me can see that Firth looks every bit the gorgeous lawyer in his beautiful suit, with a good shirt and a satin tie, and Grant is even more dashing in open-necked shirts beneath perfectly cut jackets.
But Grant's best look by far in the film is during the hilarious "country mini-break" boating scene where he is wearing a dodgy short-sleeved shirt with jeans, aviator sunnies and, I regret to say, a fag clamped between his teeth. It is clear from this rig-out that he is such a very bad boy. And so very attractive.
Compare it to the tragic mess Hollywood made of him when they cleaned him up for that dreadful turkey Nine Months. One look at that blow-waved barnet and you could just imagine the conversation between the movie execs at the casting meeting: "It's the hair - that's what the chicks love about this guy. It's the hair. We've got to go big on the hair."
So they combed all the character out of it and blow-dried the flop into floppy.
In Bridget Jones's Diary, Grant has his own hair back and better than ever. Combined with his newly gym-buffed body, which gives him much squarer shoulders and a more confident demeanour than he had in his previous bumbling British bloke persona, and with the addition of a few more wrinkles, which just seem to make him more handsome, Grant has grown up into an Errol Flynn for the noughties. Bad, cad and fabulous to know.
As for that grubby incident with Miss Divine Brown which put so many of us off him before - now it seems perfectly forgivable as a bit of character research for this role.
And you can just imagine what Hugh Grant/Daniel Cleaver said, that night when the Los Angeles Police Department tapped on his car window: "Oh f***.'