18 Of Our Favorite Hot Messes In Movies

Fifteen years ago today, the cinematic version of Bridget Jones entered our lives in Bridget Jones's Diary. And she was a mess. A hot mess, you might say.

That term wasn't added to the online version of The Oxford Dictionaries until 2014, but you could have easily placed a picture of Bridget next to it. Oxford defines "hot mess" as "a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered, especially one that is a source of peculiar fascination." Bridget smokes too many cigarettes, drinks too much, says the wrong thing constantly, has terrible karaoke skills, and gets involved with "fuckwits." (Her words. Not mine.) So, yeah, she fits the bill. And we love her. We love her so much that she's getting a third movie, Bridget Jones's Baby, coming out this fall.

But she is not alone in the annals of movie history. Hot messes have been around since before anyone used the phrase in this context. In our book, she's a complicated woman who sometimes indulges to excess, leaving her life a bit in shambles. In some cases she's vindictive, in others she's unapologetic, and in other's she's desperately trying to pull her life together. There's something alluring about her. It can be that she's ultimately sympathetic. It can also be that she's physically, well, hot.

Labeling a woman a "hot mess" does not come without baggage. It can be reductive. And, unfortunately, these characters are largely Caucasian. In Hollywood, being messy but endearing is a luxury often reserved for a privileged class. (For more on this, read Eileen G'Sell's essay in Salon.)

Here, however, we survey some of our favorite hot messes to grace the big screen.
1 of 18
Susan (Katharine Hepburn), Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Katharine Hepburn's Susan in Bringing Up Baby is sort of a proto-hot mess, but she certainly is a mess. For starters, she's the type of woman who thinks it's okay to keep a leopard around. She also displays classic hot mess behavior, like ripping her dress in a public setting.

Hot Mess Qualities: Poor grasp of reality, flirting with danger (a.k.a. leopards)
2 of 18
Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), Some Like It Hot (1959)
Marilyn Monroe is at her most sultry in the classic Some Like It Hot, but her Sugar has hallmarks of a hot mess. She joins an all-girl band so she doesn't fall in with so many sax players. She sneaks booze. She's hilarious, but there's also an underlying sadness to her.

Hot Mess Qualities: Likes a good drink a little too much, has a thing for sax players
3 of 18
Mary (Parker Posey), Party Girl (1995)
In Party Girl's opening scenes, Mary gets arrested for a variety of offenses, including "illegal operations of a social club" and "possessions of controlled substances." As the title indicates, she's a bit of a wild child. But she gets her life in order by learning the Dewey Decimal System when she starts working at her godmother's library branch.

Hot Mess Qualities: Predilection for, um, partying; financial instability
4 of 18
Gracie (Sandra Bullock), Miss Congeniality (2000)
Sure, Gracie is a super competent FBI agent, but she doesn't exactly scream grace and poise. (Even though, as played by Sandra Bullock, she's gorgeous.) She's inherently disheveled, which makes things awkward when she has to go undercover as a beauty queen.

Hot Mess Qualities: Sloppiness, clumsiness
5 of 18
Bridget (Renée Zellweger), Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
Ah, Bridget, you wanton sex goddess. When we first meet Bridget, she's trying to reform her ways: She wants to lose weight, remember to put her panties in the laundry, and date a "nice sensible boyfriend." But Bridget's hot messiness is too ingrained in her personality to be fully eradicated. It's in there so deep that there's a third movie coming out this year, in which she's in a very hot mess predicament: She does not know who the father of her baby is.

Hot Mess Qualities: Prone to smoking, drinking, falling for bad men
6 of 18
Gloria (Isla Fisher), Wedding Crashers (2005)
Gloria ensnares Vince Vaughn's Jeremy by pretending to be a virgin. She's certainly not. She's obviously beautiful and a little, er, overeager when it comes to sex.

Hot Mess Qualities: Sexed up, nutty
7 of 18
Nicky (Leslie Mann), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Don't get into a car with Nicky. Steve Carell's titular virgin Andy makes that mistake after meeting her at a bar one night. He ignores multiple warning signs — the first being that she takes two shots before leaving, the second being that she owns a breathalyzer. We don't learn much about Nicky during their wild ride, but the fact that she belongs on this list goes without saying.

Hot Mess Qualities: Really, really drunk
8 of 18
Angie (Amy Poehler), Baby Mama (2008)
Angie seems like the ideal candidate to carry Kate's (Tina Fey) baby. At first. Then her true, junk-food eating self is revealed.

Hot Mess Qualities: General lack of cleanliness, bad eating habits
9 of 18
Aura (Lena Dunham), Tiny Furniture (2010)
Lena Dunham's Girls has basically defined the millennial hot mess, but her first portrayal of this trope came in her 2010 feature Tiny Furniture. Dunham plays Aura, who (not unlike Hannah Horvath) graduates from college and finds herself adrift in New York, making myriad bad decisions.

Hot Mess Qualities:
Aimlessness, poor choice in sex partners
10 of 18
Mavis (Charlize Theron), Young Adult (2011)
Charlize Theron gives one of her best performances as Mavis, a successful writer of young adult novels who is also deeply unsatisfied with her life. Mavis returns to her hometown to steal her high school boyfriend away from his wife and child. She is stunning and quite possibly evil, or at least very disturbed.

Hot Mess Qualities: Borderline delusional, nasty, morally bankrupt
11 of 18
Annie (Kristen Wiig), Bridesmaids (2011)
Annie does not have her life together at all, and the impending wedding of her best friend (Maya Rudolph) brings up all of her insecurities. Compared to the rest of the bridesmaids, she's a loser. She lost her business and her boyfriend. She has sex with a terrible guy (Jon Hamm). And, oh yeah, she brings the wedding party to a restaurant that gives them all a case of explosive diarrhea.

Hot Mess Qualities:
Lack of professional motivation, desire to pursue a shitty hookup, general feelings of inferiority
12 of 18
Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan), & Katie (Isla Fisher), Bachelorette (2012)
These three hellions are walking human disasters. Sure, they look great, but they are the deeply bitter high school friends of a bride-to-be, Becky (Rebel Wilson). The night before Becky's wedding, they let their jealousy get the best of them. They get coked up. They ruin Becky's wedding dress. They have ill-advised hookups.

Each has a vice. Regan is the ringleader, angry that her med student boyfriend still hasn't proposed. Gena is still pining after her high school boyfriend. Katie is vapid.

Hot Mess Qualities: Rampant drug use, poor choice in romantic partners
13 of 18
Donna (Jenny Slate), Obvious Child (2014)
Donna's life is in shambles when she meets Max (Jake Lacy). Her boyfriend cheated on her with her friend. Her comedy career isn't paying the bills. After she and Max have an inebriated one-night stand, Donna ends up pregnant and decides to get an abortion.

Hot Mess Qualities: Floundering in her career, going through a breakup, prone to wine
14 of 18
Shirin (Desiree Akhavan), Appropriate Behavior (2015)
Desiree Akhavan's semiautobiographical directorial debut centers around Shirin (played by Akhavan herself), the bisexual black sheep of an Iranian-American family. Shirin's break up with her girlfriend sends her into emotional disarray as she seeks romantic fulfillment. And, like so many Brooklyn twnetysomethings, she's also attempting to find gainful employment.

Hot Mess Qualities: General misanthropy, mid-twenties malaise
15 of 18
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck (2016)
Did you really think a list of hot messes would not include Amy Schumer's character from Trainwreck? Amy's hot mess qualities are defiant. She loves her drunken, commitment-free life. That is, until Bill Hader's doctor Aaron comes along and she starts reconsidering her behavior.

Hot Mess Qualities: Frequent drunkenness, DGAF attitude
16 of 18
Nancy (Lake Bell), Man Up (2015)
In this truly underrated rom-com — watch it on Netflix, seriously — Lake Bell's Nancy would rather order in and watch Silence of the Lambs than attempt to find romance. But when she accidentally winds up on a blind date with Jack (Simon Pegg), she just goes with it.

Hot Mess Qualities: Unlucky in love, cynical
17 of 18
Kate (Tina Fey), Sisters (2015)
Amy Poehler usually plays the crazy character to Tina Fey's straitlaced woman, but they switched it up with Sisters. Fey plays Kate, the popular girl in high school who never quite grew up, despite being a single mother.

Hot Mess Qualities: Stuck in high school, lack of a stable job, unsupportive mother
18 of 18
Robin (Rebel Wilson), How to Be Single (2016)
Robin is adept at managing her hot mess lifestyle. She relishes in one-night stands and New York nightlife, but knows how to put herself together to get into work the next day looking fresh. (She shows up late, but who cares, really?)

Hot Mess Qualities: Getting fucked up, engaging in random hookups

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