April 18, 2001 -- "Bridget Jones' Diary" is a very funny comedy about love and sex centered around a woman obsessed with her weight and her lack of a love life. Not only that, but it is an adult comedy with no bathroom humor, and not a single fart joke. Hurray!
Set in England, the film features a lot of that well-known British reserve and a number of British slang expressions (there are links to a web page explaining those below). Renée Zellweger of "Nurse Betty" stars as Bridget Jones, a woman who fears she is turning into an old maid. She decides to lose weight and renew her attempts to have more successful relationships with men. Toward that goal, she decides to start keeping a diary. One of her first resolutions is: "Will find nice, sensible boyfriend to go out with and won't continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitmentphobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional f*ckwits or perverts." Of course she breaks this vow immediately. Very soon she finds herself in a romantic triangle with two men, her rakish boss, Daniel Cleaver (played by Hugh Grant of "Notting Hill") and the quiet barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth of "Shakespeare in Love").
Bridget's friends, Jude (Shirley Henderson), Sharon "Shazzer" (Sally Phillips) and Tom (James Callis) are a devil-may-care bunch who are always ready to pick up the pieces when things don't go well for her. They seem to spend most of their time drinking and joking. Whenever Bridget has a setback she goes on drinking and eating binges that cause her weight to go up and her self esteem to plummet. She's not exactly what you'd call a mentally stable person, but she is very funny. Hugh Grant plays a man with no particular morals and Colin Firth plays a man with an abundance of morality and a very stiff upper lip. Can Bridget be counted upon to choose the path which will most likely lead to self destruction? Nobody would care, except for the fact that Zellweger is so likeable in the lead role. She radiates vulnerability, but she always seems to survive and thrive in her personal sphere of chaos.
The three lead actors are all very good. There are plenty of sight gags to go along with the more witty jokes and the clever comedy situations written into the script by Richard Curtis ("Notting Hill") and Andrew Davies ("Circle of Friends"), based on the book by Helen Fielding. Director Sharon Maguire keeps the energy level high with excellent comic pacing. The production design by Gemma Jackson and art direction by Paul Cross are first rate. There are some marvelous interiors in the film. This is one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time. It rates a B+.
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