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Metropolitan, Clueless and Bridget Jones’s Diary

Metropolitan: 1990, Newline Cinema Clueless: Paramount, 1995 Bridget Jones's Diary: Miramax, 2001

Americans have always been fascinated by and quick to follow success. It is no wonder then, that with the recent revival of Austen films, movie-goers have also been treated to a rash of Austen updates. These films, produced by the same companies that brought us the original Austen adaptations, have each enjoyed a wide popularity and garnered a fistful of awards. They are all listed as comedies. They are all rated PG-13 or R. Wait a minute! An Austen adaptation rated R? What gives? Well, along with their other similarities- they all also share a very un-Austen like fascination with sex. It is unfortunate that the makers of such wonderful family films as Emma and Sense and Sensibility could come up with nothing funnier or more sophisticated than traditional Hollywood fare. Perhaps it is the American influence. Perhaps the screenwriters feel that, as Austen did in her day, they are simply mirroring popular culture. What remains are three films which may be funny to the majority of film audiences, but are blatently offensive to common morality and certainly not a credit to the tradition of Austen adaptations.

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