Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies' man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie Anderson covers the "How To" beat for "Composure" magazine and is assigned to write an article on "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days." They meet in a bar shortly after the bet is made.
Bridget Jones is an average woman struggling against her age, her weight, her job, her lack of a man, and her many imperfections. As a New Year's Resolution, Bridget decides to take control of her life, starting by keeping a diary in which she will always tell the complete truth. The fireworks begin when her charming though disreputable boss takes an interest in the quirky Miss Jones. Thrown into the mix are Bridget's band of slightly eccentric friends and a rather disagreeable acquaintance who Bridget cannot seem to stop running into or help finding quietly attractive. Written by
Anuja Varghese <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Speaking as one familiar with "Pride and Prejudice"--the book and the 1995 miniseries upon which this work is loosely based--I like this spunky little movie exceedingly well, just as it is. Do not be put off by superficial comparisons to "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill," both shallow and pretentious movies memorable only for one fine eulogy and some physically beautiful protagonists. "Bridget Jones's Diary" is more.
Bridget Jones is, as its soundtrack suggests, "Everywoman." Every woman who has ever fumbled for words, fallen on her face, been embarrassed by her mother, chosen her underwear carefully, picked a cad for a boyfriend--whether she's a thirty-something singleton or a sixty-something grandma--can identify with Bridget on some level. You can't help pulling for her. Cheering her on is cheering yourself on.
But this chick-flick is not hardcore; it has a broad sense of humor. Male viewers have been caught in the act--smirking. There is even a fistfight to warm insensitive martial hearts. A couple of famous people make appearances here, too--one with a million-dollar price on his head--Salman Rushdie, who plays himself in a wryly irreverent little sequence.
It's easy to miss the movie's charm on the first screening--some very good lines are swallowed at the ends; the gratuitous profanity, casual sex, prodigious smoking and drinking are turn-offs; the heroine is an awkward, fleshy woman with reprehensible fashion taste, and one may easily posit that she ended up with an unsuitable and unlikely mate.
But I contend, after a second viewing, that this movie is a little gem. There is a wonderful economy in the editing; every scene, every action tends toward only one possible conclusion, a PERFECT conclusion. And the childhood clips in the ending credits give credence to that conclusion and provide support for it--which is that the hero and heroine are made for each other.
I rate it a solid 9 (with a 10 for the BBC/1995 "Pride and Prejudice").
* * * * S P O I L E R S A H E A D * * * *
At first glance, Miss Jones seems stupid and inept and the last woman in the world one would pick for the intelligent and successful Mr. Darcy. But consider this: Darcy already had "a clever wife" before--bliss must needs be sought elsewhere. Besides, Bridget, though somewhat gauche, is not unintelligent, as evidenced by her voiceovers and some of her sallies. But most of all this: Each has something the other needs--he is steady and reliable, she possesses liveliness and warmth. Notice the wistful look on Darcy's face as he watches Bridget and Cleaver cavorting on the river. He WANTS some nonsense and indecorum in his life--needs them; she would be his savior. Imagine Darcy's life if he had settled on the competent but priggish Natasha--both parties would have stagnated. Imagine if Bridget had surrendered to the charms of a Daniel Cleaver--fun for the nonce, but misery for the long haul.
No, this ending is perfect in every way, down to the last delightful epithet uttered by an aroused Darcy. And oh yes, the kiss--very promising indeed; at once tender and ardent, it leaves one with the distinct impression that Darcy will be something more than "helpful in the kitchen."
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