“So how’s your love life?” The phrase dreaded by “singletons,” those who find themselves alone on Friday nights, throughout the world and which is always brought up at just the right moment on all major holidays. “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” based on the Helen Fielding national best-selling novel of the same name, attempts to put a new spin on the classic story of a woman feeling like time is running out on love.
Bridget, played perfectly by Renee Zellweger (“Nurse Betty” and “Jerry Maguire”), a thirty-something woman who drinks too much, smokes too much, and all too often opens her mouth without thinking, has decided this is going to be the year she finds Mr. Right and does not fall for any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, misogynists, megalomaniacs, chauvinists, emotional @#!*wits, freeloaders, or perverts.
With support from her close knit circle of friends, Shazzer (Sally Phillips), Jude (Shirley Henderson) and Tom (James Callis), Bridget completes the year minus one commitment phobic boyfriend, one dead end job, and finds what she is looking for in the most unexpected places.
During the diary year, we follow Bridget through the horrors of being single when everyone around you is what she would call a “smug-married,” and when your neurotic mother (played by Jemma Jones) dresses you up and sets you up with any available single man of class in England, while she runs off with a television shopping channel host. No wonder Bridge consumes large amounts of wine and vodka.
Jones’ two main love interests in the film, Hugh Grant (“Notting Hill” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral”) and Colin Firth (“Shakespeare in Love” and “Pride and Prejudice”), are the exact opposites of each other.
Firth is a stern, scorned, divorced lawyer with a grudge against co-star Grant. Grant is, not surprisingly, a womanizer with problems committing. He is handsome and alluring, especially since he is Bridget’s boss. The on-screen chemistry between Zellweger and Grant is undeniable, yet we all know what happens when the workplace collides with the bedroom— fireworks.
The film, directed by newcomer Sharon Maguire and produced by the book’s author Helen Fielding, is packed full of unforgettable scenes, such as the comic duel between Grant and Firth in which they beat each other to a pulp in the middle of the street with the classic 70’s disco anthem “It’s Raining Men” playing in the background.
Another notable touch to the film is the ending sequence with two younger actors portraying Zellweger and Firth. It is said, throughout the movie, that the two had met years before when she was four and he eight, and Jones paddled around naked in his kiddy pool. The touching sequence is over-scored by the song “Have You Met Miss Jones?” and is quite a suitable ending for this discovery-of-self film.
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” will most likely be labeled as just another chick-flick and disregarded by many, but it is well worth a trip to the theatre.
Anyone who has read the book will agree that Zellweger is fabulous as Bridget, and the movie does not go more than five minutes without a direct quote from the novel. It is well worth the $5.00 matinee admission. You will not be disappointed. After it is over, you will be shouting: Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Bridget!