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BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY

SYNOPSIS:
A London publisher’s publicist, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is thirty-two, plump, single and determined to change her life. She decides to keep a diary, lose some weight and find that elusive Mr Right. While her dotty mother (Gemma Jones) attempts to set her up with suitable bachelor Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), Bridget fantasises about romance with her handsome and enigmatic boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). With best friends Tom (James Callis), Jude (Shirley Henderson) and Shazza (Sally Phillips) offering their often wayward counsel, Bridget becomes entangled first with Daniel and then Mark before discovering that the two men share a bitter rivalry from the past. In the midst of confusion, crossed wires and too many vodkas, can Bridget make sense of the madness and find true happiness?

The payload that this film carries in its end sequence is pure cinematic gold – in both senses; stand by for record-busting takings as word of mouth spreads the good news. The adaptation boasts a script (co-written by the author) that makes us participate on the one hand - pushing either Bridget or the men in her clumsy life - and on the other, encourages us to enjoy being benign voyeurs as the clatter of faux pas hits the floor. Director Sharon Maguire makes her feature debut with great flair for the material; perfectly played pain, suitable subtleties and designer attention to detail gives the film pace, energy and accessible drama-based humour. Zellweger is perfect, as are the two men, although if my life depended on it, I’d say Colin Firth is a shade superior as the barrister with the cool British exterior and seething passion inside. Grant’s mannerisms are gone, and his charm works just as well in sly mode as in sincere. Women will love Bridget’s diary and many will associate with her in the romance and self image stakes, while most men will find the unabashed characterisations of the two central male characters entertaining. A great date movie, a great double date movie and a great ‘self improvement is for losers’ movie.
Andrew L. Urban

Everything you've heard about Bridget Jones's Diary is spot on and I promise you won't be disappointed! The first revelation is the transformation of Hollywood girl-next-door Renée Zellweger into a lovable, plump, self-deprecating English gal, who can't keep her foot out of her mouth. Zellweger is extraordinary – she wins our hearts hands down with a sensational performance (and a most convincing accent), in which she simply exudes magic. It is an instant love affair - from the first glimpse of her miming All By Myself in her burgundy pyjamas, tossing high kicks and conducting an imaginary band with tipsy exaggeration, to her baring her butt in the final scene. Like Muriel of Muriel's Wedding, Bridget is overweight and looking for love, but unlike Muriel, Bridget's journey is revealed in the sentiment of Billy Joel's song, I love you just the way you are (although that song is not used to exemplify it). But music is often used for this purpose – and most effectively – similar at times by its use in Someone Like You. The best comedy is derived from real life situations, and Helen Fielding's wonderful adaptation of her novel (with Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis) is very close to the bone all the way. The banter is delightful and emotionally the script maximises the effect of the understatement of the English reserve. Clever casting with Hugh Grant as the slimy, smooth-talking charming boss ('Never dip your nip in the office ink' is the line used to describe having an affair in the office), and Colin Firth is perfect as the reserved English lawyer who is his antithesis. Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent – an extra treat as Bridget's parents, who also are going through a crisis of another kind. A warm, witty delightful story about a young girl's search for love, as told through her personal diary, Bridget Jones's Diary is funny, fabulous and irresistible. You'll laugh, you'll cry and squirm with delight!
Louise Keller

If Texan Renee Zellweger wasn't bang-on convincing and loveable as the London heroine, Bridget Jones's Diary would fall in a heap. She is and it doesn't - far from it. For sheer movie enjoyment this very funny and painfully accurate portrait of a thirtysomething "singleton" is one of the year's highlights. The source material (Helen Fielding's bestsellers) are sacred English text and the casting of Zellweger understandably caused raised eyebrows among old-dart purists. They needn't have worried because from the moment she appears with her perfect, slightly posh/Sloane Ranger accent we're cheering her on in the pursuit of all the things a jolly good girl like her should have in life. Bridget is from the classic bumbler school - if she wasn't so busy falling over herself she'd have men queueing up to fall in love with her. But that's not how it goes when you're still awkward at 32 and you overhear potential suitors like handsome Mark Darcy calling you a "verbally incontinent spinster". Or when the sexy boss (Hugh Grant) you've been having an affair with turns out to be a beastly cad who's two timing you with an American "stick insect". The loveable neurotic from Fielding's novels is alive and hilarious in this charming item that's cast to perfection. Zellweger is so delightful you want to pick her up and take her away from all this and Hugh Grant is a revelation as the ne'er do well of the piece - he should play more bounders if this is any indication of what he can do. Colin Firth has a less showy role as Mr Darcy (again!) but oozes animal attraction by simply showing up - and that's fine, thank you. Co-writers Fielding, Andrew Davies and the incomparable Richard Curtis of Black Adder, Four Weddings and Bean fame never sacrifice Bridget's humanity or our sympathy in the pursuit of laughs and give us wonderful sub plots such as Bridget's kooky mum (Gemma Jones) leaving her husband (Jim Broadbent) for the oily charms of a television shopping channel host. Bridget's own foray into the world of TV journalism isn't bad either in a film punctuated by uproarious set pieces and kept on the boil with amusing observations in between. I loved this film which strikes the perfect balance of hilarity and humanity as Bridget negotiates the tricky waters of love, weight loss and everything in between. In the screening I attended there was a huge collective sigh from the women when Bridget asks Daniel if he loves her. I think that means it hit the mark. Stick around for the end credits too. It's worth it.
Richard Kuipers

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DVD REVIEW

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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with Renee Zellweger

BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (MA)
(UK)

CAST: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Sally Phillips

DIRECTOR: Sharon Maguire

PRODUCER: Jonathan Cavendish, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner

SCRIPT: Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis (screenplay), Helen Fielding (novel and screenplay)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stuart Dryburgh

EDITOR: Martin Walsh

MUSIC: Patrick Doyle

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gemma Jackson

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 26, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Pictures Video

VIDEO RELEASE: December 5, 2001 (Rental); April 3, 2002 (Sell-Thru)

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: ColTriStar Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 5, 2001







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