Bridget Jones's Diary


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Bridget Jones's Diary
"The ending is a pastiche of the worst kind of Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks wet hanky job and a sop to the American market."

They call her Bridge - those who know her. She is overweight, gallumpish and wears appalling clothes. For some reason that may escape a cinema audience who hasn't read Helen Fielding's book or bought the newspaper that serialised The Diary, this sad middle-class secretary has become an icon of 21st century feminist Britain.

If you need an example of literature not travelling, this is it. The diary device is disposed of early on with some voice-over inserts, which leaves the story all on its own, looking bereft of anything interesting to do, unless you find randy bores at excruciating cocktail parties sociologically fascinating.

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Bridget Jones, 32, lives alone, eats, smokes and drinks too much and worries about not having a boyfriend. She works in the publicity department of a small London publisher and appears to do very little, badly.

Her parents split up, which causes her dad (Jim Broadbent) to go to pieces and her mum (Gemma Jones) to run off with an obvious homosexual. Her friends are either unsatisfied and female, or up front and camp.

She has a fling with her boss (Hugh Grant) and then starts fancying a boring barrister (Colin Firth), whom she knew as a child. Can this really be the stuff of modern legend?

You feel sorry for Renee Zellweger, a Texan actress of considerable charm and talent (Jerry Maguire, Nurse Betty), who was force-fed to put on the flab, only to be humiliated in scene after scene that accentuates her fat thighs and big bum. If the director had been called Shamus Maguire instead of Sharon Maguire, there might have been accusations of misogyny.

The style of the film is a rabbit's warren of other people's ideas: a touch of Walter Mitty here, a suggestion of romantic comedy there. The ending is a pastiche of the worst kind of Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks wet hanky job and a sop to the American market.

On the plus side Grant looks great and has stopped being ineffectual and apologetic. The role of love rat suits him. Firth plays a man called Darcy, which must be an in-joke. His constipated frown does not add to the general air of feather-light abandon, although his scrap with Grant in the street is the funniest moment of an achingly unfunny movie.

Bridget's open-plan office is the least cluttered in the history of publishing, more like an advertising agency that doesn't have any clients, and why does she keep her bra on in bed when finally making it with the man she loves?

She'll write and tell you, no doubt.

Reviewed on: 11 Apr 2001
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Overweight middle-class secretary has trouble with men and other appetites in London.
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Director: Sharon Maguire

Writer: Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis, , based on the novel by Helen Fielding

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent

Year: 2000

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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