Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones is a larger, smoking, drinking British version of Ally McBeal. Or is Ally McBeal a thinner, healthier, American version of Jones? Either way, Bridget Jones's Diary is very funny, something that most comedies these days aren't. Bridget Jones's Diary is a best-selling novel by Helen Fielding that recounts Bridget's struggle to find love. It already has a sequel, and many rabid fans. When Renee Zellweger got the part of Bridget, there was nearly open revolt. How could an American play this British icon? Well, Zellweger (Nurse Betty, Me, Myself and Irene) does a great job, mainly because of her ability to do whatever it takes to personify Bridget by gaining weight for the role, and humiliating herself for her role.

Bridget is 32, and realizes that she needs to take control of her life. She begins a diary, and vows to lose weight, stop drinking, and find a 'good' man. She soon begins a relationship with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant, Small Time Crooks, Mickey Blue Eyes), her boss. He is the personification of everything she does not want or need in a man, but she pushes forward anyway. The other man in her life is Mark Darcy (Colin Firth, Relative Values, Londinium). Their parents tried to set them up, but the two were not amused. Darcy is acerbic, terse, and rude every time Bridget sees him. However, Bridget keeps meeting him at various events. What Bridgets does not realize is that unconsciously, she begins to fall for Darcy. He is the type of man that she wants.

Bridget Jones's Diary is so much fun because of the adaptation. Fielding, Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Bean) and Andrew Davies (The Tailor of Panama, Circle of Friends) adapt the novel, tweaking some elements and incorporating some things from the sequel. To some, it may be sacrilegious, but the spirit of the novel remains. The spirit of the novel is what made Bridget Jones's Diary such a phenomenon. Women everywhere could relate to Bridget through her ups and downs, and could root for her. Director Sharon Maguire goes a step further by making it enjoyable to watch Firth and Grant. She splits the spotlight three ways, letting each of the actors take a portion of the movie and run with it.

This is a nice change from Grant, who usually plays the nice guy. Here, he is a jerk (which means his blink rate is slower). People tend to forget how much fun he can have with these roles, oozing charm while inspiring wrath. Firth is also good. He looks extremely uncomfortable nearly every scene. Still, Zellweger outpaces them both with her performance. As Bridget, she veers dangerously from self-assured to nervous, always talking more than she should. Although she seems to fail horribly and embarrassingly at so many things, it is still funny because she humanizes the role and keeps trying.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Good.
1 hour, 34 minutes, Rated R for language and some strong sexuality.

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