BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (2001)
Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Paul Brooke, Felicity Montagu, Shirley Henderson, Sally Phillips and James Callis.
Screenplay by Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis.
Directed by Sharon Maguire.
Distributed by Miramax Pictures. 98 minutes. Rated R.
Renée Zellweger is the biggest of many good reasons to see Bridget Jones’s Diary. (I can just see my grammar teacher grimacing and pulling out her red pencil saying, “that should be Bridget Jones’ Diary without the second ‘s,’ young man…”) This is particularly amazing considering the resistance to the Texan actress by the readers of the best-selling book. Much like John Cusack’s High Fidelity, an American actor stepped into a quintessentially British role and made it their own (at least this film didn’t transplant the film to the States like Fidelity did.)
Bridget Jones is a breakthrough role for Zellweger. Even more than her previous appearances in Jerry Maguire and Nurse Betty, she nails the role so completely that she should immediately leapfrog the likes of Sandra Bullock and Gwyneth Paltrow into second place in the hot young actress sweepstakes. (And if Julia Roberts keeps doing crap like Erin Brockovich and The Mexican, she’ll be hearing footsteps, too.) Playing a thirtyish, chain-smoking, “singleton” who makes bad career choices and worse ones in love, Zellweger doesn’t hit a false note.
Hugh Grant, as her handsome scoundrel of a boss and sometime-lover, has great fun sending up his image. If there is one weak spot in the film it would have to be Colin Firth as her other lover, Mark Darcy. Firth plays his role with Pride & Prejudice coldness and distance, but what works in Jane Austen doesn’t really work in this modern, quirky film. You can never really believe that a vital life force like Bridget would ever put up with a cold fish like him. It’s not a fatal flaw, though, and Bridget Jones’s Diary is a charming, insightful film. (4/01)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2001 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: April 13, 2001.