BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY Send This Review to a Friend
Adversity is more enjoyable than triumph, at least from an audience viewpoint if the troubles are those swamping Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones, the relentless diarist of Helen Fielding's best-seller that has now been turned into a film. When overweight and depressed Bridget is battling to raise her self-esteem and falling for her irresponsible but oh-so-attractive boss Daniel Cleaver, played with irresistible, exploitative charm by Hugh Grant, "Bridget Jones's Diary" clicks along delightfully. Zellweger, English accent intact, is winsome and downright adorable. One cannot help rooting for her, especially as she delivers intemperate remarks in tricky situations. It is when life is finally looking up and men are fighting over her that the film veers toward cliched romantic comedy with some silly, unbelievable situations.
Director Sharon Maguire, who as a woman knows the terrain, works from a screenplay that Fielding co-authored with Richard Curtis and Andrew Davies. Naturally, a diary must be turned into something more cinematically viable, and a mass market film is less likely to be as acerbic as pithy comments on the printed page. Still, the film could be a lot less Hollywood in style than it turns out to be. That said, there is Zellweger, and it is hard to imagine anyone who would not find her appealing in this role. The film also gains from Grant and from the casting of Colin Firth as Mark Darcy, the man she at first dislikes and then…well, that's part of the story. Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones add substance as Bridget's parents who are having their own troubles, but that sub-plot diverts the spotlight from the heroine.
There are amusing scenes involving the publishing house for which Bridget works, with Salman Rushdie and Jeffrey Archer turning up as themselves to add some authenticity. The confrontation in which Bridget tells off Daniel and quits her job with a shocking remark is a gem. Another hilarious highlight occurs when Bridget gets a job as a television reporter and in a segment at a fire station must slide down a pole. Lots of bits that women will bond with as a result of their own experiences enhance work especially well. But a street fight over Bridget and an excessively cute resolution diminish the film, as does the sticky final song over the end credits. But there aren't many romantic comedies these days that offer as much fun as you'll find in the best parts. A Miramax release.