Renée Zellweger …. Bridget Jones
Colin Firth …. Mark Darcy
Hugh Grant …. Daniel Cleaver
I must be getting softer in my old age, as here I am again reviewing a romantic comedy, one I actually enjoyed watching, and one I’m sure most of you will enjoy too.. Bridget Jones’s Diary is the film adaptation of the runaway best-selling British novel of the same name. The original author undertook the screenplay and first-time director, Sharon Maguire appointed to bring the project to fruition. The first surprise in this typically British story was the selection of the Texan Renée Zellweger (Jerry Macguire, Nurse Betty), not a popular choice among the die-hard Bridget fans. The ever resourceful actress moved to England months before production started, immersed herself in the cultural references and daily lifestyle of the fictional character and took voice coaching lessons to perfect the nuances of Bridget’s persona. She packed on more than an extra 10 kilograms just for the part, too. I’m no expert on the British accent of ‘thirtysomething’ British females, but I must say that Zellweger pulled it off without a noticeable glitch, a very convincing performance.
Bridget is a kind of ‘Everywoman’ facing the common problems of the modern single woman looking for love and battling compulsions: in her case food, alcohol and cigarettes, with healthy doses of her acidic wit. The story is based on the diary she starts to keep in an effort to improve her life and find the right man. She chronicles her weight fluctuations, how many cigarettes smoked, how much alcohol consumed, along with the fluctuations of her heart particularly in relation to Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her rakish, publishing-house boss, and the seemingly arrogant Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), a match her mother tries to set up. While Bridget enjoys success in finding some kind of love, her bunch of misfit friends are never far away to help her mend the broken heart that inevitably results. The haughty Darcy eventually proves to be much more than his exterior suggests, and the happy, ‘love conquers all’ ending should please all fanatic romantic comedy fans.
To be as critical as possible, the movie was way too short, coming in at around ninety minutes, blessedly short by today’s standards. But this is a movie that really needs more character development and more time for the romantic successes to bloom and the failures to wilt. The characters were not as fully developed as they needed to be, for the most part rather black and white, and the plot not being as completely developed as possible. That being said, it really is a delightful movie that the romantic in all, well most of us would enjoy with a special companion.