Bridget Jones is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.Bridget Jones is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.Bridget Jones is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.
What really makes this movie stand out from a venerable list of other working girl fantasies is the familiar but one-of-a-kind personality of the irrepressible Bridget Jones. Created by novelist Helen Fielding, who also wrote the script, and brought to life by the talented and zany Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones is a 32-year-old pleasingly plump London working girl, a "...verbally incontinent spinster who...dresses like her mother" (to quote Colin Firth's character, Mark Darcy). She is also clumsy, the kind of girl who might spill sauce on her blouse, a little overweight, smokes, drinks too much and sometimes says what she thinks without consulting her brain. She is also very good at improvising on the spot, a talent that charms not only the two leading men, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, who vie for her affection, but also the five o'clock news audience who like her bum and knickers just fine.
Director Sharon Maguire, in her first outing, combines Brit witticisms, slapstick pratfalls, raunchy, sharp and realistic dialogue, and a blatant but inoffensive sentimentality into a romantic comedy that surely has Nora Ephron and Julia Roberts paying close attention. She keeps us guessing about who will get the girl (and who really deserves the girl) with the usual misdirections and misunderstandings characteristic of the genre. There's a little dead time about half way in, and the uncertainty about whether Bridget wants Hugh Grant or Colin Firth is milked a bit overmuch, otherwise this is nicely paced entertainment sure to chase away a blue afternoon.
Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are both very good, and Gemma Jones as Bridget's mother is a charming, dotty sight to see. Bridget's friends are funny as a kind of foil to the tired glamor of Yank TV's "Friends." And there's a darling "home movie" sequence during the closing credits purporting to recall Bridget at four and Mark Darcy at eight, that retrospectively and adorably frames the movie.
Should a CHICK FLICK ALERT be declared here? No doubt, but thanks to a warm, bubbly, funny and decidedly unprudish and unaffected (and I must say, somewhat daring) performance by Zellweger, we'll ignore it because we "like her just the way she is."
- Feb 8, 2002