His wry, self- deprecating humour is as important as his floppy hair and English charm at ensuring he always wins the heart of his leading lady. Now scientists have discovered the technique used by Hugh Grant's film characters can bring the same romantic success offscreen. Taking the mickey out of yourself works far better than clever jokes, which might be seen as boastful and put women off.
The findings were outlined by anthropologist Gil Greengross, who conducted a two-year study into the role of humour in seduction.
He discovered that the type of humour used by Hugh Grant in the film Notting Hill - in which he attempts to charm Julia Roberts with the poor contents of his fridge - works the best.
'Many studies show that a sense of humour is sexually attractive, especially to women,' he said.
'But we've found that self-deprecating humour is the most attractive of all.
'It is a risky form of humour because it can draw attention to one's real faults, thereby diminishing the self-deprecator's status in the eyes of others.
'But based on the idea that verbal humour evolved to function as a fitness indicator, self-deprecating humour can be an especially reliable indicator, not only of general intelligence and verbal creativity, but also moral virtues such as humility.'
In Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hugh Grant's bumbling British bachelor character charms a sexy young American played by Andie MacDowell.
In a best man's speech, he says: 'This is only the second time I've been a best man. I hope I did OK that time. The couple in question are at least still talking to me. Unfortunately, they're not actually talking to each other.
The divorce came through a couple of months ago. But l'm assured it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Paula knew Piers had slept with her sister before I mentioned it in the speech.
'The fact that he'd slept with her mother came as a surprise but I think was incidental to the nightmare of recrimination and violence that became their two-day marriage.'
While Americans are said to adore the British tendency towards self-deprecating humour, experts warned that problems could arise when it was used to seduce a member of the opposite sex from a different culture who might not understand it.
The report, 'Dissing Oneself: The Sexual Attractiveness of Self-Dep-Humour', which will be published next month in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, also warns that the technique should not be attempted by those who are already unpopular.
It could make 'low-status individuals' appear 'more pathetic' than they did before.