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A good fight scene is the secret ingredient for any good comedy film. Whether it is 40-year-old stepbrothers having it out over a drum set, or some of the biggest comedic names coming together for an ultimate anchorman battle — a great fight scene has the power to immortalize any comedy film. It is where creative freedom can run wild, breaking free from the serious nature to which we find many other fight scenes, and instead giving us a laugh as Michael Cera battles a band of exes or Simon Pegg pulling up on a white horse before an epic shoot out in Hot Fuzz. These scenes become such highlights because they are the only time when writers and directors can throw caution to the wind and the audience won’t think twice, no matter how ridiculous.
What Is ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ About?
However, the best fight scene in any comedy almost rejects these well-established rules. It is simply realistic, but that is what makes it so much funnier than the rest. No fight scene in a comedy can top the very British brawl between the proper Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and womanizer Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) over our lovely Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. The iconic film follows singleton Bridget as she navigates her 30, trying to balance her career, relationships, and family troubles. She is set up with childhood family friend Mark at a Christmas party but isn’t interested, and ends up dating her boss Daniel. Mark and Daniel are soon found out to have bad blood between them, and a problem of miscommunication arises as Bridget tries to find her footing between the pair whilst focusing on her career. This rom-com is one of the greatest and most iconic in the genre, as Bridget Jones represents a lot of women in the 21st century — she is imperfect and a hard worker who is looking for a nice, sensible boyfriend to go out with as she battles constant reminders of her single status by society.
The budding competition that had been simmering between the two suitors finally hit its peak out front of Bridget’s apartment. Daniel crashes Bridget’s birthday dinner, and Mark takes the opportunity to invite his arch-nemesis outside for a good old-fashioned fistfight. Bridget’s best friend, Tom (James Callis) alerts the neighboring restaurant, and a crowd of witnesses is conjured up that only adds to the spectacle of it all. With Bridget and her best friends trying to decide who to root for on the sidelines, the brawl enters the previously mentioned restaurant, followed by a comedic pause as they sing “Happy Birthday” to whats-his-name before launching themselves through the window. This effectively ends the brawl — well, not before one final blow from Mark.
Why This Scene Works So Well
The scene works so well because it has enough heart behind it to matter — the uptight Mark finally cracks to prove his fondness for Bridget. His character has remained fairly closed off previously, and similarly to the film’s inspiration, Pride and Prejudice’s beloved Mr. Darcy, his feelings about Bridget were convoluted and unsure. This was his big moment to essentially fight for Bridget and seek revenge on Daniel for all the wrong he had done to him, which is not only entertaining for the viewer but also extremely satisfying. This is easily the best fight scene in a comedy for many reasons, but one big one is that a fight scene over the protagonist is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest tropes in a romance, and proven even better when it is between two proper English men. It is clear that physical altercations are just out of their depth, making for a perfectly hilarious and endearing scene that is simultaneously anti-climatic — just as we would expect. The cherry on top is the reactions from Bridget and her friends, as well as the waiters who egg the fight on, each just as amused and shocked as we are.
Bridget Jones is one of the greatest heroines to hit our screens, and so as the viewers, we can’t help but feel a great deal of pride that she was able to break these two men — both who at points in time felt too good for Bridget. With Mark’s stand-offish and judgmental demeanor and Daniel literally cheating on Bridget, they both acted like the prize only to be the ones who would be chasing in the end. Now here they are, all disheveled and competitive, as they grapple on a grubby street in London, and leave Bridget to be so turned off by both that she chooses neither (well, before learning the truth about Daniel). Despite Bridget wrapping her arms around her very own Mr. Darcy by the end, we can find satisfaction in the fact that she didn’t settle, no matter the pressure from her family or friends.
All in all, this scene really is the best fight scene in a comedy film because although it’s funny watching grown English men roll around on the floor, it isn’t justified or celebrated. It is rooted in such realism that it has a significant impact on the viewer and is what makes Bridget Jones’s Diary so impactful and relevant today. Bridget isn’t left in awe of her two suitors’ obnoxious attempts to settle their beef with their fists — instead, she is disgusted and disappointed. Their futile kicks and jabs are more than a hilarious moment, but important in Bridget’s character arc, where she takes the power out of their hands and into her own. Suddenly she is the master of her fate which Mark and Daniel are fighting for, and that she won’t let be taken for granted. The depth of this fight scene runs deeper than any other fight scene in a comedy, which makes it all the more funny but, most importantly, all the more meaningful.