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Bridget Jones' Diary movie review

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Bridget Jones' Diary

Run for the hills! Boys and men of every age hide yourselves! Cover your eyes because it is here. That is right men, the latest and biggest "Chick-Flick" to pollute our screens has arrived in rather heavy form. Yes, "Bridget Jones' Diary" has trumpeted into town with all the stigma of your everyday chick-flick, but this little bottle of girl power goes down just as well with the blokes.

The "romantic comedy", like the movie musical, is a genre that has been dying in quality in recent years. It has been a long time since When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and whilst there have been bursts of fun in Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral I proclaim BJD to be the resurrection of the genre.

movie poster, Bridget Jones Diary, Festivale film review section
movie poster, Bridget Jones Diary, Festivale film review section

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There is truly only one word to describe this thoroughly enjoyable ride into comedy country and that is delightful... for BOTH sexes. Being a teenager, most of my male friends frown at the name Bridget Jones. Thoughts of slushy romantic syrup flow through their minds, anticipation of feminist undertones and the wish that it were Catherine Zeta, and not Bridget seem to shape their opinions into hating this movie before even seeing it. But this is unfair, because BJD is fully equipped with gut-busting innuendo, fast cars and even a fight. So men, pick up your purses and head to the cinema for the year's biggest crowd-pleaser!

BJD tells the story of Bridget Jones. Without going into the details of the plot it is no spoiler to tell you that Bridget is a slightly overweight, smoking, drinking, irresponsible, uncouth party girl from London who, after hearing a man's opinion of her, decides that she needs to clean up her act. To assist her in this mission she begins a diary, documenting her progress in cigarette counts and drinking counts, and essentially the story is a recollection of the events and changes in the life of Bridget Jones that cause these counts to fluctuate. The two events in simple terms are two men, her reckless and wildly sexy boss (Hugh Grant) and a more straight laced family friend (Colin Firth). Now its time for the audience to choose sides as she ventures through the two and gets ever so slightly closer to the one who truly is... THE ONE (awwwwwwwwwwwww). But don't fear, because despite the thick coating of sugar that hangs over the proceedings of BJD, the film is a hilarious joy to watch unravel.

Performance wise, BJD is fantastically cast. The controversial casting of Texan Renee Zellweger in the title role has paid off greatly. She is the total embodiment of BJ. She is sweet, sexy, funny, has the accent down pat and is most of all real. And this is perhaps the quality in the film that sets it above the usual fodder. People can actually associate with the delightful Bridget. She is flawed yet sweet. Rude yet innocent. She is everything that I am assuming most women are and it is beautiful to watch a real person grow on screen. How was an audience expected to associate with Julia Roberts as a movie star in Notting Hill?

Here the filmmakers have overcome this distance between the fantasy of the screen and the reality of the cinema, by making Bridget as real as the girl in the seat next to you. Hugh Grant as the dastardly boss, is very, well, umm......... Hugh Grant. Which is fine because after all how can we believe Grant as anything BUT a bastard. And Colin Firth is fine and reserved in what appears at first to be the less meaty role of the film. But as the back story involving his character Darcy, unfolds you will grow to appreciate his more subtle performance. The bit players are all fine as the typical eccentric Brit-friends, although I suppose we have seen them all before. Bridget even comes accompanied by an friendly and gay male 80s pop singer.

And perhaps it is here that we find the main flaw of the film. Although the script is brilliantly witty, the direction comfortable and well-fitted, the characters real and the performances far above par, BJD is perhaps a little too cliched than it deserves to be. I mean haven't we seen all this before? Girl meets guy, hates him, grows to love him. Girl meets other guy, loves him, grows to hate him. Girl discovers someone in her lover's bed. Girl has eccentric friends, one of them being the requisite homosexual?

Ali says:
Witty, unashamed and British in a commercial, lets-sell-to-the-US sort of way, Bridget Jones' Diary is an amusing way to pass the time.
Yes, we have seen it all before. It is so frustrating that this film could have been brilliant if the cliches were ignored, but I guess those are the restraints of the genre. So as it stands, BJD is like a great horror movie, innovative and fantastic in so many ways but unable to break through the wrappings that we have all seen before. But still, this is a delightful crowd-pleasing romp and I recommend all, men, boys, women, girls, cows and sheep to go, unwrap this present and soak in the giddy excitement that you'll get from watching the girl next to you in one of the funniest films of the year!

Add your comments 82% Joel Meares

For credits and official site details, see below
See also: Four Weddings and a Funeral
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Just the facts:

Title: Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
Written by: Based on a novel by Helen Fielding, screenplay by Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis
Directed by: Sharon Maguire
Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jonathan Cavendish
Edited by: Martin Walsh
Director of Photography: Stuart Dryburgh
running time:

The Players: Hugh Grant, Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth
Official website:
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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