Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bridget Jones's Diary

"Bridget Jones's Diary" (Sharon Maguire, 2001) Tarty little strumpet of a movie with a predominantly female crew ('though Richard Curtis of "Four Weddings and a Funeral." "Notting Hill," "Love Actually" and Andrew Davies whose done every BBC adaptation of Jane Austen contributed to the screenplay), and a knock-out performance by Renée Zellweger that should have won some sort of award (though she was nominated for Best Actress Oscars and BAFTA's). Frankly, she had me at her drunken drop-kick to "All By Myself" as screeched by Celine Dion.*

It's a deft little 21st Century time-warp of Jane Austen plotting where Bridget (Zellwegger), in a quest to monitor her vices, weight and love-life, begins to chronicle her life, and, probably to have something to write about, becomes embroiled in an affair with her slutty boss (Hugh Grant --showing top performance on every oily cylinder) and a prickly relationship with family "friend" and stuffed-shirt Mark Darcy. **

The whole thing is bright and saucy in that chirpy romantic style of current British comedies (written by Davies and Curtis!) and Jim Broadbent gets to slum a bit, and there's even a cameo for Honor Blackman. One might even be seduced into thinking it modern if the prevailing sentiment wasn't "Bridg' is just no good without a man." Maybe she should write about the fish that needed a bicycle.


** Yes, yes, I'm aware, and the point is bludgeoned home by the casting of Colin Firth, who memorably played Darcy in the much-ballyhooed 1995 BBC mini-series of "Pride and Prejudice," and is the version to whom all the others have been compared. This must have been like falling off a log for him!

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