Retro Review: Bridget Jones’s Diary

Based on the best-selling novel, Renee Zellweger stars as a British woman who works for a large publishing firm. She is bound and determined to lose her budging figure, stop smoking and find the man of her dreams. Bridget is smart, clumsy and dedicated to her quest.

During the quest, Bridget hopes to entice Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), the head of the publishing firm into a date and hopefully more. But Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) , a friend of the family, holds a secret that connects him to Bridget and Daniel. Will this secret interrupt Bridget’s quest? What assorted past do Daniel and Mark hold? Who is the best for Bridget?

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” is a delightful little comedy that is produced by two huge studios but feels like a quaint little British comedy. It’s that innocence and quaint focus that really bring us seamlessly into Bridget’s world. The texture and tone of the film is brilliantly scaled back to give it a warm cozy feeling. That texture makes the happenings and events of Bridget’s life almost real.

For this film to really work this had to be achieved. That texture, feeling and grasp is missing in a lot of the romantic comedies of today.

Zellweger gives her all as the bubbly British woman. Her accent is seamless and it’s amazing to watch. The only real faults in the accent come when Bridget will talk for a while or when she is nervous. She has come along way from her Jerry Maguire role. With breakthrough roles in films like “Nurse Betty” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, Zellweger is showing a depth that I really didn’t fully notice or understand until this film. Zellweger is brilliant and deserves an Oscar nod here.

Her supporting cast, which includes the two male leads, is really natural and brings even more realism to Bridget’s world. The conflict between Grant and Firth is done beautifully. Firth has a lot more meat to play with as his character has to deal with a lot of depth and frustration.

There is a lot of slapstick humor and brilliant lines that make this film really prove that the romantic comedy genre isn’t dead. I liked how fresh and original the genre felt in this film even though we had seen this plot a thousand times before.

There are a couple scenes that drag on for extended time that do hurt the film’s running time but there are just so many bright moments throughout. It’s definitely the best romantic comedy this year, thus far.

I remembered when I reviewed “Someone Like You” and in that review I talked about how the film would really make the male members of the audience nervous. (Read it soon on the blog) Even though Bridget does have problems with men she never attacks the male sex. Through that element, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” doesn’t alienate any audience members and still allows men to relate to Bridget, the woman.

The audience’s association and relationship with the Ashley Judd character in “Someone Like You” was never fully achieved in that film thus revealing why the film really didn’t work. It truly is amazing how that subtle difference between “Bridget” and “Someone” is so relevant to a film’s success.

Take someone you love to see Bridget and they’ll love you for it.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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