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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.2%
Worth A Look44.07%
Average: 11.3%
Pretty Bad: 6.78%
Total Crap: 5.65%

9 reviews, 123 user ratings

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Bridget Jones's Diary
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by Andrew Howe

"A ray of light in the midnight hour."
4 stars

When the editors of glossy magazines discover that the latest issue contains less words than it has pages, it’s a sure bet that you’ll wind up reading one of those deep and meaningful quizzes that staffers like to scribble on cocktail napkins during happy hour. If the topic at hand was “Bridget Jones’s Diary – Written in Your Soul?”, I imagine it would look something like this:

“Have you ever:

(a) Belted out the words to Everybody Hurts or How Soon is Now? while sucking on a bottle of Jack Daniels with a passion usually reserved for a baby at its mother’s teat?

(b) Endured polite enquiries about the state of your love life from a couple of smarmy newlyweds while fantasising about wiping the smiles off their faces with 30 rounds from an AK-47?

(c) Attended a function that features the words ‘singles’ and ’18 to 35’ in its title, ‘just for a laugh’?

(d) Entertained visions of spending your twilight years alone and unloved, with nothing to keep you company but the spectre of the grave?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you may trade your youthful optimism for bitter cynicism at your earliest convenience. Everyone else has our permission to enjoy a quiet moment of smug self-assurance, but don’t forget that we’ll be seeing you again on the way down.”

I’d like to say that I’d score a flat zero, but lies are best left to those with political aspirations. We can line the pockets of all the Cosmopolitan journalists and self-help gurus we like, but at the end of the day the call of the herd will wake us from our fitful rest, and at 3.00 a.m. on a cold winter’s morning the life of the loner is rarely as romantic as James Dean’s biographers would have you believe.

When it gets to the point where you’d rather attend a funeral than a wedding, you’re left with three options – purchase a one-way ticket to Desolation Row, retire to the woods to write a follow-up to Walden, or learn to laugh at your misfortune (which is rarely as much fun as laughing at someone else’s misfortune, but at least you won’t have to cop to it in the confession box). If the third option is your drug of choice, Helen Fielding is here to help: her script for Bridget Jones’s Diary is as sharp as a headsman’s axe, and if it cuts a little close to the bone then it’s a small price to pay for ninety of the most entertaining minutes you’ll experience all year.

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name (with adaptation duties shared by Fielding, Richard Curtis and Andrew Davies), Bridget Jones’s Diary is concerned with nothing more than a year in the life of the title character. Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is a single white female in her early thirties, and while her life is by no means inspiring, things could be considerably worse. She’s got a steady job, several close friends, and a roof over her head, but her inability to hold down a fulfilling relationship wreaks havoc on her peace of mind. The film accompanies Bridget on her quest for the elusive Mr. Right, and if it doesn’t take her anywhere particularly original it’s difficult to complain when the company is this engaging.

The film’s success is built upon Bridget’s appealing personality: her faults and foibles are endearing, for they remind us that we are never alone in our failings, making her the antithesis of every self-assured “hero” whose manufactured flawlessness leaves us grappling with our own imperfections. Her ambitions are undermined by a surfeit of stuff-ups, ill-advised comments, and a penchant for gratifying her base needs regardless of the cost, but she’s a decent person at heart, and her refusal to crumble under the weight of rejection and failure sets her above the kind of self-pitying losers who populate many “serious” relationship-oriented films (start with Wonderland and work your way up). Her attitude isn’t entirely hopeful, but it’s never grim or bitter, making her a suitable role-model for the disenchanted.

It would have all been for nothing, however, if Zellweger wasn’t up to the task. Her performance in Jerry Maguire proved that she’s a natural at playing self-sufficient but impressionable young women, and her experience stands her in good stead for the job at hand. Wielding a faultless British accent (the product of extensive vocal training) and the extra bulk she piled on for the role (the product of several tonnes of donuts), she turns in a disarming performance, overlaying Bridget’s actions with an aura of good-natured self-deprecation (the script gives her a hand, but it’s largely down to her note-perfect facial expressions and memorable vocal delivery, not to mention a smile which could melt an Arctic glacier). In one of the opening scenes we watch her nervous good humour give way to a crestfallen expression of self-doubt, and in that single pivotal moment she wins us over for the duration.

The required conflict is provided by Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), a charming, philandering cad, and childhood associate Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), a straight-laced lawyer who initially views Bridget with a distaste usually reserved for something you scrape off your shoe. Both are well-cast – Grant seems more at ease now that he’s ditched the mantle of the Next Big Thing, turning in a likeable performance which ensures his character is never entirely unsympathetic (it’s difficult not to be moved by his obviously heartfelt attempts to make amends late in the piece), while Firth excels at playing that beloved stereotype, the emotionally-stunted British male. My only reservation is that Firth never entirely convinces us that a warm heart beats beneath his well-tailored suit, though to be fair he’s provided with little opportunity to do so.

The film moves at a cracking pace, cramming a pleasing amount of activity into its relatively brief duration. Bridget’s diary entries and other sundry musings are communicated via voiceovers, which accelerate the narrative and enhance our ability to identify with her plight, but the extensive interplay between the characters prevents it from becoming a drawn-out interior monologue. The plot holds few surprises (Fielding has never attempted to hide its similarity to Pride and Prejudice), but straying too far from the beaten track would have worked against the film’s status as a well-realised slice-of-life.

The comedic element is rooted in everyday situations, and most of the time it’s pleasantly restrained. Certain scenes (Bridget trying her hand at karaoke at an office party, and the family Christmas gathering from hell) border on brilliance, and the film exhibits sufficient universal appeal that you don’t have to be able to identify with the situations or characters to succumb to its charms.

Apart from the occasional detour into uninspired physical comedy, the film’s only significant failing is that the final fifteen minutes take a leave of absence from the believable events that comprise the bulk of the running time, and a single act of misty-eyed wish-fulfilment undermines Bridget’s status as a paragon of understated heroism (the message seems to be that if you stay true to yourself, a knight in shining armour will ride in to relieve you of the need to do so). However, Fielding would have been lynched if she’d scripted the kind of downbeat ending that I would have preferred (cantankerous old sod that I am), so for the majority of moviegoers the film’s metamorphosis into a feel-good anthem is unlikely to trigger any ill-will.

Bridget Jones’s Diary partners an incisive script with a capable cast, and the result is a hugely enjoyable film which will appeal to broken-hearted cynics and hopeless romantics alike. It’s the perfect tonic for anyone who’s grown weary of comedies which have nothing to offer but loud and empty punch lines: it creeps up on you from behind, and once it gets under your skin it won’t be long before it works its way into your heart.

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originally posted: 07/18/01 09:02:47
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User Comments

6/25/18 Louise A travesty to have a bad American actress in the title role. 2 stars
8/18/12 edutra awful. not one piece of enterainment 1 stars
5/08/12 LilWilko haha have to do a review on this movie, and its one of the funnyest movies ive watched (: 5 stars
4/06/12 SEAN DUTRA a pain to watch. rather sleep 1 stars
4/03/12 Georgiana Darcy. Colin Firth shits all over Fitzwilliam Darcy. Hey Firth, what did he do to you? 2 stars
9/28/11 Heather Purplethorne Couldn't make me interested in the title character. Too bad she kept a diary. 2 stars
3/06/11 That girl Helen Fielding, do you have a drivers license? You should drive a cab. 2 stars
3/04/11 Rita God, I hope Renee Zellweger never makes another movies of any kind. 3 stars
2/22/10 Elizabeth Bennett Mr. Darcy is the best of men. Mark Darcy is a mediocrity, so is Colin Firth. 1 stars
12/16/09 A Girl bridget is just so lovable 5 stars
7/12/09 the dork knight Didn't care to see Zellweger's ass but even she seemed sexy by the end. 5 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. i laughed so much watching this :] 4 stars
2/19/07 Nick Maday A completely fantastic adaptation of Helen Fielding's re-telling of Pride and Prejudice. 5 stars
1/29/07 Lisa Craven I just love Bridget/Renee...she can do no wrong by me, and Hugh Grant is just delightful 5 stars
12/01/06 SabresFanatic I AM BJ. Seriously one of the best Rom-Com's in years! Just naughty enough that even guys 5 stars
10/20/06 MP Bartley Aside from some annoying stereotypes and cliches, good fun. Zellweger is excellent. 4 stars
9/16/06 Lizzie Bennett What's this Pride&Prejudice talk? I saw no resemblance to Pride&Prejudice whatsoever! 2 stars
5/03/06 Ashley Hinz I liked this well enough to watch it a few times. 4 stars
1/03/06 Daveman Vacuous, bourgeois nonsense, not even closely representative of the British singleton. 2 stars
12/23/05 Jeff Anderson Surprisingly weak & D.O.A. See EASY with Marguerite Moreau instead, a MUCH better film!!!!! 1 stars
12/30/04 Jenna Furr What you mean, Pici? Isn't THIS the first one? 2 stars
12/05/04 Sarah I wish I would have walked out, it was absolutely awful 1 stars
11/16/04 Pici The first one was awful - this one was HORRENDOUS. 1 stars
11/14/04 ashley The sequal to the first on is as good if not better than the first one 5 stars
11/13/04 Sarah It was awesome really funny and 2 really hot guys are in it 5 stars
11/06/04 Dunce Decent books don't always make decent films. 3 stars
11/03/04 Peter Caron This movie is one of the funniest flicks I've seen in a long time. Zellweger was great. 4 stars
10/24/04 Saddam Hussein I'd rather have a job wiping Renee Zellweger's ass than watch BRIDGET JONES'S DIARRHEA. 2 stars
10/24/04 Elena The guy who played Darcy in Pride + Prejudice also played Darcy in this movie. Quirky humor 5 stars
9/12/04 A cline It was not bad. I'd like to know how she diets the weight off after the movie. 4 stars
8/05/04 Allison I loved it. A nice, and witty movie. 5 stars
6/25/04 rosebud Great chick-flick! Renee was wonderful! 5 stars
6/23/04 nikki fab film,,watch it all the time!! 5 stars
6/02/04 chinky brilliant, love,Love,LOVE this flick!!! 5 stars
5/03/04 nada nazzal it is very good film and renee was really very good 5 stars
3/03/04 mary a film that u can watch ova +ova again n still laugh the same each time! 4 stars
2/18/04 C. Hachtel EXCELLENT - EXCELLENT Movie 5 stars
2/15/04 john bale Renee's Bridget is terrific and its typical British fun movie 4 stars
1/25/04 Elena The guy who played Darcy in Pride + Prejudice also played Darcy in this movie. Quirky humor 5 stars
12/29/03 gina creed favourite chick-flick, as am real life bridget jones! could identify with charachter. 5 stars
11/04/03 Charles Tatum Not laugh out loud, but Renee is sexy and great 4 stars
8/18/03 kate inesoria i feel like i want to be bridgette jones for a week.. 5 stars
5/22/03 leila kamali 5 stars
5/20/03 Shadaan Felfeli Renee looks so nice and healthy in this film as compared to chicago.A fun film. 4 stars
2/23/03 Fatuous One Actualy clever and witty! Wonderfully acted. R.Z. looks great, too. 4 stars
2/14/03 Blabity blah Funniest fight scene ever!!! This movie was hilarious. 5 stars
1/01/03 Andy Todes depressing how people actually like this film. (R.Z. was phenomenal in "jerry maguire.") 1 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Renée was great! 4 stars
7/27/02 karen goldstein THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/01/02 Jay Who could love Bridget? Sucks all ass. 1 stars
6/05/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi bridget jones, wanted sex goddess with a very naughty man between her theighs, oh hi mum... 5 stars
4/11/02 Saddam Hussein I'd rather have a job wiping Renee Zellweger's ass than watch Bridget Jones's Diarrhea 3 stars
3/31/02 Carmen Crowe Why not SAVING SILVERMAN for best actor (sensible as this for best actress)? 3 stars
3/31/02 Jeremy itz o...............kay 4 stars
3/29/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) Really funny. I don't like Oxygen or WE. I think they're sexist, but this was good! 5 stars
3/14/02 Tiah I just rented this film and I thought it was actaully better than the previews let on. 4 stars
3/11/02 R.W. Welch Amusing romantic comedy with stand-out work by Renee. 4 stars
3/04/02 Paul W. Not THAT bad 3 stars
3/01/02 Chowie I quite liked it Sneza.....and if you had have left it on for more han 20 minutes.......... 5 stars
2/23/02 Sneza I turned it off within 20 minutes! What a waste of a rental! 2 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Some good fun. 4 stars
2/15/02 Carmen Crowe Why not SAVING SILVERMAN for best actor (sensible as this for best actress)? 3 stars
2/02/02 Saddam Hussein I'd rather have a job wiping Renee Zellweger's ass than watch Bridget Jones's Diarrhea. 3 stars
1/18/02 Scottish Kilt crap, hughs a poofter cause he likes rugby. 2 stars
1/14/02 Flick Chick is Renee Zellwhateverthehell related to someone in the business? 1 stars
11/27/01 Keith surprisingly good for a chick-flick 4 stars
10/27/01 Monday Morning Nice. But a chick flick any way you slice it.. 4 stars
10/20/01 Tam Fanastic feel-good film! Humourous, superbly acted and well-written. 5 stars
10/16/01 Jaynne I love it when Bridget says nice boys dont kiss like that "yes, they Fuckin do" 5 stars
10/15/01 The Bomb 69 funny movie if a bit out of control at times 4 stars
10/14/01 Andrew Carden At Times Funny, but She Gets Out Of Control. 3 stars
10/13/01 RehabBoy Was much better than I thought it would be 5 stars
10/10/01 P.Rodriguez Hey quite good. even hugh 'faggy' Grant! 4 stars
9/04/01 kris Simply average. 3 stars
8/27/01 Al Oh Yeah Baby!!! 5 stars
8/23/01 Reini Urban Bit disappointing. Not in the funeral&wedding, jerry macguire class, only notting hill... 4 stars
8/22/01 Vikki Cooke It was sensational, lots of laughs and good for the heart and soul 5 stars
8/16/01 Trine Love the film. Colin Firth is great 5 stars
8/15/01 ^Elendil^ Hollywood is warped. 60 kg is not 'fat'. 4 stars
8/15/01 GeoPersius I Love Colin FIrth! Great Movie 5 stars
8/14/01 Bob Great 5 stars
8/08/01 hum charming. best fight scene for some time! 4 stars
8/04/01 viking Renee Zellweger was great !!! 4 stars
8/04/01 Lisa I really approve of this movie! 4 stars
8/03/01 Anna A fun, sweet, humourous movie 4 stars
7/26/01 kris Just average. 3 stars
7/26/01 Jenny Theatre is what I do with my life - so I'm picky. But this movie made my suggestion list. 4 stars
7/25/01 Chris Shigihara Absolutely delightful film.Have seen 48 times to date.Great acting & screenplay. 5 stars
7/22/01 Linda A comedy that makes you laugh! What a refreshing concept. Zellweger is astonishing! 5 stars
7/20/01 matthew smith delightfully witty and one of the funniest films of the year. 5 stars
7/19/01 Carole Poland Brilliant! It is my new favorite film! Everyone is great especially Colin Firth! 5 stars
7/05/01 Jed Exceptional writing make for a wonderful romantic comedy 5 stars
6/22/01 Onyx Enjoyed it thoroughly. Love Colin Firth Yummy 4 stars
6/11/01 Angela M. Murtagh Boring and predictable...slow...bad spunk! 2 stars
6/08/01 Hawkeye A great film, and Rene Zellweger does a wonderful job. Just as good as the book! 5 stars
6/05/01 Sandpiper Hilarious and refreshing change from typical drab comedies. 5 stars
5/30/01 Bud A great date movie. Warm,funny,great characters and a happy ending. 4 stars
5/29/01 Andy Meakin Laff a minute...EXCELLENT 5 stars
5/21/01 tnt cute and enjoyable....but once you leave the theater it is forgotten! 3 stars
5/18/01 zeitgeist for me to like a romantic comedy set in britain says something 4 stars
5/15/01 Gail Splendid 5 stars
5/15/01 Amy Hill Wow. A hilarious film that goes stright from the screen into your heart!!! Ten out of ten! 5 stars
5/09/01 Ashley P WOW 5 stars
5/07/01 Heather Hooray, a good chick flick for a change, loved the Pride & Prejudice connection 5 stars
5/07/01 Suzz fluff but fun fluff 4 stars
5/05/01 astrotart This flick really hit close to home...and the guys will dig it too! 5 stars
4/28/01 Monster W. Kung Average, ridicolously over-hyped film. Some fun parts, but not that many. 3 stars
4/25/01 K nowhere near as good as book, but your date will love it. 3 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) WHOO!! Truth Will Set You Free--Fuck off, you misogynistic prick!! 4 stars
4/23/01 y2mckay One of the more tolerable chick-flicks I've been dragged to. Hugh Grant was funny for once 4 stars
4/21/01 That Guy Ally McBeal-like date movie with cute Zellweger. No fear, men - not just a chick flick. 4 stars
4/20/01 Monster W. Kung Average comedy, nothing more, nothing less. 3 stars
4/19/01 Tam Warm and funny. Brought it all home for us singletons. Zellweger was great! 5 stars
4/19/01 SUZL4 I laughed very hard!! Zellweger, Hugh, and Colin were great!! 5 stars
4/18/01 nowak Only pretends to be witty. Quite stupid and Firth is weak.. 2 stars
4/17/01 Greyjack Very entertaining light fare. Good date movie. 4 stars
4/17/01 poetchuck One of the best movies to take a nap to. Not funny, not charming just boring. 1 stars
4/15/01 John C Maynard Wonderful modern version of Pride and Prejudice.. 5 stars
4/14/01 Gary Mitchell good, I was one of the people with the movie man to see the screwed up version of the movie 4 stars
4/13/01 Julia Much more Funny than I expected! (And those shameful memories it evoked!!) Thank You! 5 stars
4/08/01 grunter Zellweger nails the accent, too bad it was for a parallel universe "Ally McBeal" episode 4 stars
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  13-Apr-2001 (R)
  DVD: 09-Nov-2004


  26-Jul-2001 (M)

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