Review: Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Director:Sharon Maguire
Writers:Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis
Universal Pictures/Miramax; R; 94 minutes
Cast:Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant

Helen Fielding's popular novel introduced Bridget Jones to the world. She's a plucky London thirtysomething who frets about men and her future and obsessively charts her intake of alcohol, sugar, and cigarettes. The likeable urbanite carefully documents her life as a “singleton,” the opposite state of which is “smug married.” Given the popularity of HBO series Sex in the City, it was only a matter of time before Bridget Jones's Diary received Hollywood adaptation. Fielding collaborated on the script along with Richard Curtis, the man behind many of Hugh Grant's romantic comedy hits. The novel achieved a tantalizing—and untranslatable—intimacy using the diary format. The movie compensates for its movieness with spot-on casting.

Renée Zellweger, a Texan who many initially thought was grossly miscast, excels as an ingénue, and she inhabits the role of Bridget with a light touch belying considerable skill. Colin Firth and Hugh Grant co-star as competing love interests. One of the movie's most memorable scenes has these proper gents breaking out in an awkward, hilarious fistfight.

Even intelligent romantic comedies reach the point where they lay aside inventiveness and settle into a standard “which relationship will work out and how” mode. Smart as it is, Bridget Jones's Diary makes no exception. By the time this downshift arrives, however, the audience actually cares about what happens to Bridget. Adherence to plot conventions do not have to insult the viewer's intelligence; here it is a pleasure to watch Bridget's story unfold.

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