Bridget Jones's Diary (R)

Comedy 94 April 13, 2001
By Julie Caniglia
Helen Fielding's wildly successful book--whose title character became a heroine to single thirtysomething females the world over--gets transformed into an uneven but overall exuberant film. Finding herself at (gasp!) 137 pounds and the lowest point in her "singleton" existence one Christmas, Bridget resolves to "take total control" of her life--which includes renouncing "fuckwits" for boyfriends. Promptly, however, Daniel Cleaver, her way-out-of-her-league fuckwit boss (Hugh Grant, losing the stammer and playing nicely against type), starts to notice her, or at least her miniskirts. Soon they're canoodling, as the Brits like to say, and there's even a second dark, handsome man, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), lurking in the background. Reneé Zellweger famously put on 20 pounds to play Bridget: An admirable triumph for a De Niro becomes a fascinating curiosity for a female "American stick insect," as BJ herself might say. But while they may have imported an American to play Bridget (and Zellweger does nail the accent), the Brits thankfully didn't go in for our penchant to sanitize everything, especially women. Could be because director Sally Maguire, a real-life friend of Fielding (and the model for one of Bridget's pals), is more accustomed to shooting documentary films. Indeed, Bridget's earthy realism, and Zellweger's no-holds-barred approach to embodying it (literally), are the most remarkable aspects of an otherwise mainstream bit of fluffy fun. (Julie Caniglia)
Sharon Maguire Jim Broadbent, James Callis, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Renée Zellweger Richard Curtis Tim Bevan, Jonathan Cavendish, Eric Fellner Miramax Films

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