(updated 4/19/01)
Gaah! With enough chardonnay, they can't be too bad...

 Other Online Reviews  Online Interviews  See Opening Night Audience Reactions

Self’s system for rating the reviews

= Bloody brilliant!
= v. good
 = Humph
= Jellyfisher or Fuckwit, depending on reviewer's gender
 = Gaaah!
DC = Daniel Cleaver = Hugh Grant = Fuckwit
MD = Mark Darcy/Mr Darcy amalgam = Colin Firth = Mmmmm

Saturday 14 April
Lovely morning, as have tossed all British papers, and Mark has cancelled subscription to Guardian (must find new source for crossword puzzles). Stuck-in-Sixties critics blame self for movie not being Battleship Potemkin or similar. Ha! If Sharon didn't direct, Eisenstein was second choice. But am now told is also dead like FR Leavis.
Brilliantly insightful, but removed one bottle as has never seen Mr Darcy in the BBC’s P&P and bored self silly as talked about actor playing DC on his telly programme. No. of times MD mentioned 9 (goody), no. of times DC mentioned 4
Chicago Sun-Times (3-1/2 out of 4 stars) [Full review, as online version omits v. important paragraph]
(by Roger Ebert)

Glory be, they didn't muck it up. "Bridget Jones's Diary," a beloved book about a heroine both lovable and human, has been made against all odds into a funny and charming movie that understands the charm of the original, and preserves it. The book, a fictional diary by a plump, 30-something London office worker, was about a specific person in a specific place. When the role was cast with Renee Zellweger, who is not plump and is from Texas, there was gnashing and wailing. Obviously the Miramax boys would turn London's pride into a Manhattanite, or worse.

Nothing doing. Zellweger put on 20-something pounds and developed the cutest little would-be double chin, as well as a British accent that sounds reasonable enough to me. (Sight & Sound, the British film magazine, has an ear for nuances and says the accent is "just a little too studiedly posh," which from them is praise.)

As in the book, Bridget arrives at her 32nd birthday determined to take control of her life, which until now has consisted of smoking too much, drinking too much, eating too much, and not finding the right man, or indeed much of any man. In her nightmares, she dies fat, drunk and lonely, and is eaten by Alsatian dogs. She determines to monitor her daily intake of tobacco and alcohol units, and her weight, which she measures in stones. (A stone is 14 pounds; the British not only have pounds along with kilos but stones on top of pounds, although the other day a London street vendor was arrested for selling bananas by the pound in defiance of the new European marching orders; the next step is obviously for Brussels to impound Bridget's diary.)

Bridget's campaign proceeds unhappily when her mother (who "comes from the time when pickles on toothpicks were still the height of sophistication") introduces her to handsome Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who is at a holiday party against his will and in a bad mood and is overheard (by Bridget) describing her as a "verbally incontinent spinster." Things go better at work, where she exchanges saucy e-mails with her boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). His opener: "You appear to have forgotten your skirt." They begin an affair, while Darcy circles the outskirts of her consciousness, still looking luscious but acting emotionally constipated.

Zellweger's Bridget is a reminder of the first time we became really aware of her in a movie, in "Jerry Maguire," where she was so cute and vulnerable we wanted to tickle and console her at the same time. Her work in "Nurse Betty" (2000) was widely but not sufficiently praised, and now here she is, fully herself and fully Bridget Jones, both at once. A story like this can't work unless we feel unconditional affection for the heroine, and casting Zellweger achieves that; the only alternate I can think of is Kate Winslet, who comes close but lacks the self-destructive puppy aspects.

The movie has otherwise been cast with dependable (perhaps infallible) British comic actors. The first time Hugh Grant appeared on screen, I chuckled for no good reason at all, just as I always do when I see Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth or Jack Nicholson—because I know that whatever the role, they will infuse it with more than the doctor ordered. Grant can play a male Bridget Jones (as he did in "Notting Hill"), but he's better as a cad, and here he surpasses himself by lying to Bridget about Darcy and then cheating on her with a girl from the New York office. (An "American stick insect," is what Bridget tells her diary.)

Colin Firth on the other hand must unbend to become lovable, and when we do finally love him, it's largely because we know what an effort it took on his part. "Bridget Jones's Diary" is famously, if vaguely, patterned after Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"; Firth played Mr. Darcy in the BBC's 1995 adaptation of the novel, and now plays another Darcy here. I didn't see the TV version but learn from the critic James Berardinelli that Firth "plays this part exactly as he played the earlier role, making it evident that the two Darcys are essentially the same."

It is a universal rule of romantic fiction that all great love stories must be mirrored by their low-comedy counterpoints. Just as Hal woos Katharine, Falstaff trifles with Doll Tearsheet. If Bridget must choose between Mark and Daniel, then her mother (Gemma Jones) must choose between her kindly but easy-chair-loving husband (Jim Broadbent) and a dashing huckster for a TV shopping channel.

The movie strings together one funny set-piece after another, as when Bridget goes in costume to a party where she thought the theme was "Tarts & Vicars." Or when she stumbles into a job on a TV news show and makes her famous premature entrance down the fire pole. Or when she has to decide at the beginning of an evening whether sexy underwear or tummy- crunching underwear will do her more good in the long run. Bridget charts her own progress along the way, from "tragic spinster" to "wanton sex goddess," and the movie gives almost unreasonable pleasure as it celebrates her bumpy transition.

Hurrah! Reviewer likens self to Katherine Hepburn in manner of Philadelphia Story, and Shazzer to George Cukor! (Love the lovely mini-discourse on the history of romantic comedy.) No. of times MD mentioned 11, no. of times DC mentioned 12
Chicago Tribune (3-1/2 out of 4 stars)
(by Michael Wilmington)

The film kept me smiling all the way through. And it's about time. Good romantic comedies with charming characters and witty dialogue...have always been among the movies' chief delights. They sizzle and refresh. But recent romantic comedies have tended to fizzle on screen....

Bridget Jones's Diary is an exception....it's chock-full of delights. Among them: the brilliant acting of stars Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant; the effervescent dialogues and crackling monologues; the empathetic and limber direction by first-timer Sharon Maguire; the clever in-jokes and ribald ripostes; and the way the whole movie seems to gleam and dance as you watch it....

What helps make the movie work so well is the way Bridget's voice dominates it....and we feel strongly for our imperfect narrator....

Firth gives Darcy a wounded grace....And the Zellweger-Firth-Grant triangle works as irresistibly as Hepburn-Grant-Stewart in The Philadelphia Story.... [Full Review]

Repressed praise in manner of Mr Darcy (without the smouldering or the wet shirt). No. of times MD mentioned 5, no. of times DC mentioned 5
LA Times
(by Kenneth Turan)

"Bridget Jones's Diary" is cheerful, cheeky entertainment, a clever confection that makes jokes about Salman Rushdie and literary critic F.R. Leavis and survives its excesses by smartly mixing knock-about farce with fairy-tale romance....

Given that "Bridget Jones" is largely a comedy of embarrassment, it's critical that Zellweger is both a hugely game performer, willing to look bad in intentionally unflattering costumes, as well as someone with a gift for being a plucky wreck. To watch her alone in her apartment, drunkenly singing along with Jamie O'Neal on "All By Myself," is to know everything worth knowing all at once....

It is this essence of the character, rather than literary fidelity, that "Bridget Jones" is successfully focused on. Key central elements from the book do remain, but many things...are changed. The screenwriters have both pared down the book and pumped up selected elements, like the rivalry between the two men in Bridget's life. They've also strengthened the book's charming parallels to "Pride and Prejudice," down to having Firth, who played Mr. Darcy in the BBC version of the Jane Austen novel, expertly play the modern Mark Darcy here....

Finally, however, it is Zellweger as Jones who almost wills this film to succeed. There are flat patches, some situations verge on being overdone, you can see the plot twists coming, but with this spirited a performance in the title role, it's hard to protest too much. Bridget Jones' search for inner poise may be doomed, but her film is anything but. [Full Review]

Uneven review, although liked self in film. Compares movie to Clueless (as if…). No. of times MD mentioned 6, no. of times DC mentioned 5
New York Times
(by Stephen Holden)

Allegiance to blind faith in the true-blue inner you to attract Prince Charming is the reassuring romantic philosophy trumpeted by the film adaptation of Helen Fielding's best seller, "Bridget Jones's Diary." That wisp of novel is so charming with its mixture of insouciance, wit and candor that it's enough to restore a belief in fairy tale endings to the most embittered casualty of the urban dating wars....

In translating "Bridget Jones's Diary" to the screen, all that really matters is bringing this complicated, somewhat reactionary character fully and lovably to life....Ms. Zellweger brings the same qualities—flinty integrity, a childlike stubbornness and an innocent face across which emotions melt like strawberry ice cream....[She] accomplishes the small miracle of making Bridget both entirely endearing and utterly real. It is a performance so airy you barely sense the work that must have gone into it. Throughout the film you ardently root for her to succeed...

Here again, Mr. Firth is the stiff-backed Mr. Right whose wonderfulness is revealed by degrees as he peels away layers of formality to bare the sensitive soul beneath his forbidding but handsome (despite sartorial misfires) exterior....

Don't expect "Bridget Jones's Diary" to deliver any searing revelations about the human condition....What it is is a delicious piece of candy whose amusing package is scrawled with bons mots distantly inspired by Jane Austen."Bridget Jones's Diary" is the best and smartest film of its kind since then.  [Full Review - may require registration]

Reviewer’s emotional age 14; self’s favorite quote from review: ‘Any movie in which somebody kicks the crap out of Hugh Grant is okay by me.’ No. of times MD mentioned 9, no. of times DC mentioned 12 (grrrrr)
Washington Post
(by Stephen Hunter)

[T]he movie is really carried by its two male leads, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, who represent the alpha and the omega of male nastiness....This may be Grant's best performance...I also liked the part where he got beaten up. Any movie in which somebody kicks the crap out of Hugh Grant is okay by me....

In fact, "Bridget Jones's Diary" is at its best in observing these two male ur-types. Grant's Cleaver is the man women sleep with but never marry; Firth's Darcy is the man women marry but never sleep with. Or when they finally do, it's not with a lot of athleticism.

Grant is casually fabulous and very amusing, but all power to Firth the actor. He's the compleat Darcy, and he never wavers. There's no sentimentality, no flirtation with the audience, no final moment of pandering to the niceness gods; he's a cold geek all the way through. You can see him simmering with rage—at Bridget for being so attractive, at himself for never quite knowing what to say, at both of them for being prey to such childishness, at his libido for wanting and at his ego for fearing. Especially poignant are his long looks at her. You see in his eyes his yearning hunger and his fury at his own ineloquence and inability to find the will to move ahead, from across the unbridgeable distance of a large room filled with happy people....

It's a sound structure...for it enables Zellweger to show both her frantic awkwardness and her tender decency. Meanwhile the boys circle about her, after what the boys are always after....  [Full Review]

Movie sublime, but thinks self has little sexually charged chemistry with Mr Darcy? Why? Why? Must have missed scene with coat at film's end. Mmmmmm. No. of times MD mentioned 8, no. of times DC mentioned  7
San Francisco Chronicle
(by Carla Meyer)

"Bridget Jones's Diary" contains a sight so shocking it might upset sensitive viewers. It's cellulite! Up there on the big screen, in all its dimpled glory. On a leading lady, no less. It's but one of the let-it-all-hang-out joys of "Bridget Jones," the hilarious and sexy adaptation of Helen Fielding's best-seller. 

Renee Zellweger gives a full-bodied, full-throttle performance...Matching her comic panache are Hugh Grant as her charming but romantically toxic boss and Colin Firth as his stiff but sincere romantic rival....

But Zellweger's Bridget is no chump. Self-destructive, sure. Goofy, yes. Occasionally arch, of course—she's British. But Zellweger shows that the silly and sometimes slovenly character also has a spine. She demonstrates it through Bridget's tortured but determined attempts at public speaking or her surprising resolve in matters of the heart....

At first, Firth seems to be channeling Mr. Darcy's diffidence and off-putting, cheerless manner. Ultimately, though, he proves a nice contrast to Zellweger as their characters' relationship starts to thaw. Zellweger's chemistry with Firth is just as palpable as it is with Grant but not as sexually charged. It's more a meeting of comic minds, with his straight-man countenance drawing out her wackiest work, like Burns and Allen.

In one scene, Bridget struggles mightily to maintain a cool facade in front of Darcy, all while sporting a ridiculously windblown hairdo. Zellweger is playing so many emotions in this scene it's hard to keep track. There's pride, embarrassment and the conflict of realizing that she cares enough to put on a show for this guy. It's the kind of layered acting that makes a great performance—and sublime comedy.   [Full Review]

The Telegraph (by Andrew O'Hagan)

The Guardian (by Peter Bradshaw)

The Observer (by Philip French)

 The Scotsman (by Damien Love)

 Financial Times (by Nigel Andrews)

Is v.v. g. Friday 13 April
Trips to newsagents 18 (are now on first name basis; wish could use Internet but other burns more fat), calories 7,377 (celebratory dinner of pizza, crisps, Viennoise dessert thing and Chardonnay). Am brilliant actress in manner of Meryl Streep. Think may move to America where appreciate exploits of British cultural icon. Hope snooty critics face lifetime of Rancid Aluminum type movies.

Will sort through amazingly delicious press when recovered from hangover and Mark wakes up.  Mmmmmmm

Thursday 12 April
What is bloody point of review? Derivative in manner of retread sitcoms.  Note to self: buy all copies of edition at Islington newsagents so Mr Darcy will not see horrid review. No. of times MD mentioned 8,  no. of times DC mentioned 7
The Independent
(by Charlotte O'Sullivan)

The good, the bad and the frumpy

It's a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen had a great way with an opening sentence. Less widely accepted, but equally pertinent, is the fact that she had the "feelgood" factor down to a fine art. So it really isn't anyone's fault but hers that Bridget Jones's Diary—based on Helen Fielding's louche retelling of Pride and Prejudice—is a tad short on suspense. From the minute that our ditzy PR heroine makes a twit of herself, and ace barrister Darcy (Colin Firth) looks intently at her across a crowded book-launch, you know He is the one for Her....Only one ending will do: Bridget left scribbling all alone? Bridget shacked up with Daniel (Hugh Grant), her unreliable, anal-sex-loving, boss? What do you think this is— Chinatown?

Luckily, not everything about the film is so ho-hum...[I]t's nice to go to the cinema and fall head-over-heels in love with a character. One who may not be much good at karaoke, but who can lip-synch to Celine Dion's All By Myself with the shambolic, gut-busting passion of Janis Joplin. A talent that just about sums up the joys of middle-brow, but not entirely middle-of-the-road, art such as this. [Full Review]

Cannot believe star rating viz written review. As can't carp over use of Lottery money (none), is deriding because will be *gasp* a success? Have chucked review into dustbin. Am omitting MD/DC count in protest. 
Evening Standard (2 out of 3 stars)
(by Alexander Walker)

Fat, sluttish and oh, so sexy!

Just as Henry Fielding created an 18th century picaresque young rip and an icon of tearaway youth in Tom Jones, his homonym Helen has created a lovably screwed-up embodiment of the feminine psyche for the female battlers of our new century, whose only fear is how big their bum looks....

Yet in spite of its feminist insemination this is a very trad film, though to its credit not for one minute a tired one. It is constructed like an extended sitcom of reiterated embarrassments....Grant's ecstatic whoop of "Hellooo, Mummy!" as he gropes the voluminous undergarment is the film's ace joke. Bridget's other suitor is "Mr Safe", a stiff-necked, stuffed-shirt human-rights barrister called Darcy, after his ancestor in Pride and Prejudice, and played exactly that way by Colin Firth, all vestigial 19th century sideburns and we-are-not-amused deadpan-ness....

The US version of the film, by the way, is three minutes shorter than the British one: has Harvey been at the scissors again, I wonder?...  [Full Review]

Needs to view tape of Mr Darcy’s discourse on ‘period film’ featured on A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts. No. of times MD mentioned 4,  no. of times DC mentioned 7 (hideous)
The Times
(by Barbara Ellen)

Feeling single, seeing double

Directed by a first-timer, Sharon Maguire...and written by Fielding, Andrew Davies...and Richard Curtis...it emerges as an irrepressible romp that, in the main, sashays along beautifully.

One huge plus with Bridget Jones’s Diary is that it never forgets that it’s a romantic comedy, displaying no pretensions to socio-cultural value whatsoever. The meat of the story is that dreamy singleton Bridget must choose between the dashing bounder, Daniel, played by Hugh Grant, and the seemingly crashingly dull Mark Darcy (a cheeky piece of casting with King of the Darcys, Colin Firth)....Ultimately, however, what’s left in the final cut seems rather less important than what’s left out. Fieldingisms, such as “fwittage”, “singleton” and “v. gd” barely feature, if at all....Bridget Jones purists won’t be happy, but, maybe, like the heroine herself, they should think about getting a life....

So, like the heroine herself, Bridget Jones’s Diary emerges as lovable, funny and a bit lumpy in places. But is it relevant? The answer to this must be—hopefully not. As I said before, what makes Bridget Jones work is that it’s a period piece. Ergo, it has no business being relevant....  [Full Review]

Hurrah! Glowing, well-crafted review written in manner of self.  No. of times MD mentioned 2,  no. of times DC mentioned 5 (v.bad, but love the lovely hooker reference)
Daily Mail
(by Christopher Tookey)

Bridget Jones: a comic triumph

Memo to diary: Have just seen romantic comedy that is going to be whopping great hit this spring. Those who predicted Renee Zellweger wouldn't be able to do English accent about to eat words....Film might—if it had followed book faithfully—have struck some women and lot of men as alienating wallow in female self-pity—instead, bright and touching....

Colin Firth brave to take on thankless part of stiff, snooty English lawyer who appreciates Bridget just as she is, and turns out to be decent cove once you get to know him. Firth excellent at little eye-flickers that give away hidden sensitivity beneath. Also makes change to see articulate Englishman in movies who is not complete swine or twit. Big revelation Hugh Grant—great fun as love-rat Daniel Cleaver, believably self-centred, interestingly dangerous and distinctly sexy. Important that his Mr Nasty be v. attractive, or Bridget might have come across as idiotic slag....

All in all, quite a triumph. Film as whole manages tricky feat of being true to spirit of novel but also delivers slick, entertaining romp to movie-goers throughout world who have never heard of book, still less actually read one.  [Full Review]

Wednesday 11 April
Seems to fancy film. Refers to Mum’s Julian as a ‘flaming pouf’ (kettle calling the frying pan dirty bottom). Is also redundant. No. of times MD mentioned 5,  no. of times DC mentioned 2, no. of times DC’s hooker scandal mentioned 1 (Divine intervention)
New York Observer
(by Rex Reed)

A Diarist in Distress

Renée Zellweger is a huggable human pastry everyone wants to take a bite of, and in Bridget Jones’s Diary she’s more delicious than ever. Having scarfed down a few hundred eclairs herself to gain the weight to play the single, 32-year-old, Chardonnay-swigging, chain-smoking, lovelorn title character in this lively film version of Helen Fielding’s bestseller, there is also a great deal more of her to hug....

Bridget Jones just can’t seem to get her moons in balance or her planets to align. No wonder she loses herself in vodka and Chaka Khan records before she sees the light. Regular bouts of public embarrassment and culinary disaster eventually force Bridget’s two admirers to duke it out with flying fists, leaving one of them to recognize her true charms. I won’t tell you which one. Suffice it to say it all ends up with Bridget, still a size 12 but working on those thighs night and day, chasing Mr. Right down the street in the snow in her skimpy knickers. The kiss, in that fadeout embrace, is right out of Barbra Streisand’s sappy fiasco The Mirror Has Two Faces—a small cavil, considering all the thorny and sympathetic humor that has preceded it. So the year in the life of a girl with low self-esteem ends in the kind of Hollywood finale Bridget has always dreamed of— but, we suspect, a new diary is just beginning.

It’s fortunate that such a larky update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice manages to balance sentimentality with farce so skillfully. Neither Bridget nor her diary takes things the least bit seriously....The big difference is that Bridget is British. She makes impossible social blunders, rarely wastes time shopping, and celebrates failures at home and office with more irony than fury. The Brits are better at self-deprecating modesty (even on a big budget), and the efforts of everyone involved to poke fun at themselves are funny, engaging, and winning....

Bridget Jones’s Diary is a lighthearted, lightheaded burst of cool energy in a sluggish year. It’s the kind of film you can sip easily, like Bridget’s dry Chardonnay, and leave feeling dizzy.  [Full Review]

Have sent reviewer tapes of Monty Python and Beyond the Fringe.  Is obviously unfamiliar with British term ‘to pull a face’.  No. of times MD mentioned 6 (with 1 reference to ‘dishy Mark  Darcy’….mmmmm), no. of times DC mentioned 3
At the Movies
(by Matt Wolf, Associated Press Writer)

For a film whose heroine obsesses over her weight, it's a shame that ''Bridget Jones's Diary'' should be such a slim affair....

More problematic is the fact...Zellweger never really seems British....It's as if no one trusted the very real charm of the book...

Bridget's trio of chums seem to have been excised nearly to death in the cutting room, while the two men fare best, playing a complementary set of Cambridge buddies, each with a vested interest in Bridget. Firth's dourness has never been seen to such deliciously comic effect, and admirers of this actor will smile at his presence as another screen Darcy having already played Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy in the BBC's ''Pride and Prejudice.'' Grant is in terrific form...The parental roles are particularly well filled by Jim Broadbent, with his comically bemused countenance as Bridget's father, and Gemma Jones as his flighty ''daft cow'' of a wife.

''Bridget Jones's Diary'' isn't meant to be taken literally or even all that seriously. The film is like a dusting of snow that melts in the mind the minute it's over. [Full Review]

Monday 9 April
Deems film a ‘triumph’, then deducts ½ star from rating. Must be commitment-phobe. No. of times MD mentioned 9 (excellent), number of times DC mentioned 5
James Berardinelli (3-1/2 out of 4 stars)

Bridget Jones's Diary is, quite simply, the finest motion picture released by Miramax Films since 1999's The Cider House
Rules....[T]he screenplay...successfully adapts the book...while retaining much of the humor and remaining faithful to the tone. [It] is smart, sassy, and thoroughly enjoyable, and features one of the most endearing and believable characters to grace the screen this year....Zellweger embodies Bridget, and is a huge reason why the movie works....

While it would be unfair to call Bridget Jones's Diary a 20th-century re-interpretation of Pride and Prejudice, there are some parallels—at least one of which the filmmakers have decided to emphasize. The casting of Colin Firth as Mark Darcy is inspired....[He] plays this part exactly as he played the earlier role, making it evident that the two Darcys are essentially the same. He's a repressed snob who gradually, unwillingly finds himself falling for the least suitable woman around him....

Bridget Jones's Diary is filled with moments of truth and flashes of humor (sometimes the two are the same). The direction, by newcomer Sharon Maguire, shows the deftness of a veteran. The energy level is consistently high and the characters (especiallyBridget) don't take long to endear themselves to the audience. The result is worthy of exultation, especially in the bleakness of the winter/spring cinematic landscape. I smiled at the biting one-liners, laughed at both the subtle and the overt comedic aspects, and nodded my head in sympathy with Bridget's all-too-familiar plight—and I'm a male. Imagine the female reaction. Congratulations to all involved. Bridget Jones's Diary is a triumph.  [Full Review]

Refers to Mr Darcy as ‘dull’….twice! Grrrr. Must have nipped out of film early to meet deadline or is blind as bat. No. of times MD mentioned 6, number of times DC mentioned 3 (with 1 reference to ‘ newly gaunt Grant’)
Time Magazine
(by Richard Corliss, April 16, 2001)

Full-Witted: Renee Zellweger shines in Bridget Jones's Diary

With her ruddy skin, pulpy bosom and self-abasing zinger wit, she's so—well, so very English. One glance at Houston's own
Renee Zellweger, and all anxiety about the casting of an American as Britain's favorite wounded bird of the '90s vanishes. (Hey, if Vivien Leigh could play Scarlett O'Hara...) She fits in, and stands out, perfectly. And as the plot of Bridget Jones's Diary ripens, and two handsome men—rapacious Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and dull Mark Darcy (Colin Firth)—tumble, vagrantly into her heart, Zellweger reveals, as in a soul's striptease, Bridget's appeal. Inside this "verbally incontinent spinster" (as Darcy calls her), a brilliant vamp is aching to be set free.

The diary form, established by Helen Fielding in an Independent column and then two best blithe best sellers, is smartly adapted in the script by Fielding, Andrew Davies (BBC's Pride and Prejudice) and Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Notting Hill)— a virtual conglomerate of middle-class Brit humor. It gives good lines and cunning motives to the stars, especially the newly gaunt Grant, who's irresistible as a randy cad. And, except for a catastrophic third act that comprises about 14 endings, two transatlantic flights and a long, clumsy fight scene, director Sharon Maguire nicely juggles the slapstick and heartbreak. 

For this is a very romantic romantic comedy. That Firth, who was the dark dreamboat Darcy in Pride and Prejudice plays the
dull dreamboat Darcy here simply underlines the comedy-of-manners connection between Helen Fielding's work and Jane
Austen's. This, for the most part, is a tale of comic good sense and poignant sensibility.

Friday 6 April
Er, what is ‘rom-com’? (Indonesian appetizer, perhaps?) No. of times MD mentioned 3, number of times DC mentioned 3 (a tie…hmmmm)
Total Film
(by Cam Winstanley)

If the prospect of spending two hours with an insecure, completely average, office-bound single woman in London makes you scream in panic, then don't worry—you're not alone....Yet amazingly Bridget Jones the movie succeeds as a very funny rom-com. Not just funny to fans of the novel or Hugh Grant groupies or girls wanting an empathetic weep at the woes of the titular heroine... Just funny full stop. For everyone.

If you had to speculate about how it's avoided being the intelligence-insulting mulch that Notting Hill was, the best guess is that this is not a solo Richard Curtis project....Helen Fielding's original thirtysomething left-on-the-shelf angst shines through. No matter how much it's been polished for an American market...or how often tweeness threatens to intervene, it remains refreshingly bitter and cynical in a way that Four Weddings and its tedious progeny never were....

FINAL VERDICT: Simple, joyful entertainment for all springing from a book about a woman who thinks her bum looks big in this. By making it a story first, a comedy second and a romance last, Bridget Jones's Diary manages to win as all three. It deserves to pack  the punters in—including men. [Full Review]

Thursday 5 April
Hurrah! Laura is literary whiz-woman! No. of times MD mentioned 5, number of times DC mentioned 5 (a tie once more, but reviewer redeemed herself by referring to MD as ‘devastatingly sexy’…mmmmm!)
The Independent
(by Laura Tennant, April 5, 2001)

It was a triumph of method acting, and we loved her for it....Firth might as well have "good husband material" tattooed across his forehead, but despite this, or  perhaps because of it, he makes a devastatingly sexy Darcy. And ladies, I mean devastating. The competition for Bridget between Firth and Grant may be the stuff of fantasy but Bridget's unerring ability to choose the wrong man is the reality check with which every woman in the audience can identify.

At the screening I attended, the audience began laughing around the first frame and didn't really stop. I loved it.  [Full Review]

Man of taste in touch with his feminine side. Goody. No. of times MD mentioned 6, no. of times DC mentioned 2 (knew there was a reason I fancied this review)
Rolling Stone
(by Peter Travers)

It should have been no man's land...Instead, Bridget Jones's Diary delivers frisky fun for bruised romantics regardless of age, sex or nationality....[T]he movie will make men laugh, too, at themselves as well as at Bridget....Here are five reasons why. (1) Renee Zellweger is irresistible....(2) Helen Fielding, the journalist who dreamed up Bridget for a London newspaper column, has touched a nerve....(3) Sharon Maguire, the documentary filmmaker debuting as a features director, doesn't duck showing the elements that shaped Bridget....(4) The men aren't all pricks. Well, they are, actually, but the actors who play them compensate nobly....(5) The film's psychobabble-bullshit factor is laudably low....Even men will laugh; they might also learn something. No amount of sappy excess can dim that defiant flash in Zellweger's eyes. Watch her closely. She does    herself and Bridget proud. [Full Review]

Understands Singletons’ dilemma—must have read self-help books refers to in review. No. of times MD mentioned 2, no. of times DC mentioned 3
Harvey S. Karten

You can toss away your self-help books on the subject "How to Win a Mate"...Thanks to Sharon Maguire's witty, warm, charming and goofy film, "Bridget Jones's Diary" we know the secret of winning the affection of others, and it's not those three little words. The eight words you need to practice are, "I like you just the way you are," the key quote in this wonderful, heartwarming movie....

Maguire has a keen sense of pacing and of comic timing....She never lingers too long on a party, a bedroom scene, or a vista of her title character's depressed musings alone in her flat watching everything from the shopping channel to "Fatal Attraction." Though Maguire takes us sharply from one scene to another, the entire movie is seamless, with Zellweger appearing in almost every scene in a variety of clothing from a bathing suit in the dead of a blistery winter's night...to some stunning formal wear when she makes a bumbling speech at a formal reception. Side roles of Bridget's well-meaning but not-at-all helpful friends fit in neatly as does a cameo with Salman Rushdie at a publishing party which features Bridget meaning to ask Mr. Rushdie something of significance but ending asking him for directions to the loo.

If men are not as attracted to this film as women, they're making a mistake in logic. Men would do well to think of their own
vulnerabilities. Despite our macho walk and gallant talk, don't we all feel a little like jello inside just like Bridgetthat we have no chance in the world to be liked simply as we are?  [Full Review]

Wednesday 4 April
Must invite Nina to meet up with self at 192. No. of times MD mentioned 5, no. of times DC mentioned 2 (also referred to DC as ‘love-rat’, oxymoron in manner of military intelligence)
This is London
(by Nina Caplan)

Rather like its daffy heroine, the film version of Bridget Jones's Diary is not big, clever or remotely grown-up—but it is
tremendous fun....Zellweger, despite the controversy which surrounded the casting of an American as quintessentially British Bridget, more than does her justice. She has carefully accurate vowels, big blue eyes, a vulnerable rosebud pout and a trick of crumpling her face into a hurt, lopsided smile when she is verbally assaulted by cheating boyfriends, smug marrieds and other villains. The direction by Sharon Maguire...is suitably kooky, with a thumping soundtrack and plenty of incidents.  [Full Review]

Seems to favor DC in review. Why? Why? Arrggh! No. of times MD mentioned 2, no. of times DC mentioned 2 (there’s that ‘love rat’ reference again…eeeeew)
BBC (4/5 stars)
(by Neil Smith)

Cut from the same cloth as "Notting Hill" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," this much-anticipated film of Helen Fielding's bestseller about the year in the life of a single thirty-something woman delivers the goods in almost every department.

The public's affection for Fielding's Chardonnay-swigging chain-smoking lovelorn Bridget would be enough to propel the picture to the top of the box office charts. Throw in a delightfully witty script co-written by Richard Curtis, a deliciously unpleasant turn from Hugh Grant, and a cast filled with homegrown talent and the result is everything fans could have hoped for—and more....Director Sharon Maguire treads a fine line between broad comedy and touching romance.... [Full Review]

Wednesday 30 March
Profound, compassionate insight into Singletons’ plight. No. of times MD mentioned 3, no. of times DC mentioned 6 (v. bad—had to remove one bottle from near perfect review.)
Film Review *****
(by Lórien Haynes)

Bridget Jones's Diary is, you may be surprised to learn, actually better than the best-selling book....Sharon Maguire's début feature broadens the novel's horizons and encapsulates not only a woman's loneliness but mid-life crisis, male bachelorhood and the plight of 21st Century sexual relations. If this sounds too serious, the film is not. Heavingly funny, tear jerkingly poignant it's no wonder this test screened better than both Four Weddings and Notting Hill....Zellweger is a revelation. Her performance is 100 percent, in that she is Bridget....And the film is worth seeing for Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in full-blown fight mode alone.

This is a great film, and one you're guaranteed to rush back to see again. [Full Review]

Refers to MD as ‘six foot of repressed passion’—Ohmigod!  (ooof, fell off bar stool after reading…) No. of times MD mentioned 4, no. of times DC mentioned 3
Empire * * * * (very good)
(by Liz Beardsworth)

The cinematic adaptation of Helen Fielding's chick lit classic was an endeavour fraught with pitfall...However, what first-time director Maguire, the writers and the perfectly-pitched cast have created is another great British rom-com that manages to be even funnier and more romantic than Notting Hill.

The film's success is thanks in no small part to the three leads. Grant, as the deliciously dastardly Daniel, has never been better...Firth, meanwhile, is less of a showman, but appropriately revisits the haughty yet smouldering Mr. Darcy of the BBC's Pride and Prejudice, the subject of so much girlie lusting in the original diary; as aloof barrister Mark Darcy, he's six-foot of repressed passion just waiting to be unleashed. Zellweger...more than answers her critics, lurching from one disaster to the next, but still managing to balance her endearing daffiness with an irresistible saucinessno wonder Daniel and Mark are fighting to get into her control-top knickers....

ANY GOOD? Resoundingly yes. Sometimes uneven, and a tad short, this is nevertheless one of the most genuinely funny romances for some time. With Grant, Firth and Zellweger on sparkling form, this will be the next big Brit hit. [Full Review]

Hurrah! Thinks film will wow American box office. No. of times MD mentioned 7, no. of times DC mentioned 7
The Hollywood Reporter
(by Mark Adams)

"Bridget Jones's Diary" is a film full of wit, warmth and honest, knowing humor, topped off with a plethora of excellent performances. This Bridget Jones has the style to win over U.K. audiences and almost certainly the charm to wow the American boxoffice.

Renee Zellweger was the subject of much media scrutiny (in the United Kingdom, especially)....How could this young American possibly play a beloved English character? It is called acting, and she gives a splendid, often heartwarming performance.

[T}he film adaptation, nicely directed by newcomer Sharon Maguire...manages to blend subtle charm with almost slapstick moments....The script credit is shared by three writers...yet appears seamless. It's full of wonderful jokes and moves along at an easy pace.  Full Review]

Note to self: See if Home Shopping Channel sells sense of humour for Lael. No. of times MD mentioned 10 (love lovely round number), no. of times DC mentioned 7
(by Lael Lowenstein)

As a film...misses its mark, failing to capitalize on the staccato rhythms and sardonic wit of Bridget’s inner life....it will inevitably disappoint some of the book’s devotees.

The good news is that Zellweger delivers as Bridget, and her fellow actors, including Hugh Grant and Colin Firth...are exceptionally well cast....Zellweger is a tireless sport about all of this. And despite the initial furor over her casting, her best roles...have indicated a sweetness, vulnerability and comic timing that make her perfect for Bridget. Gaining some 20 pounds, the actress has transformed herself into a lumpy, fleshy everywoman.

Grant and Firth are impeccable. Firth...brings unexpected depth to his role, while Grant, for once, thankfully gets to play against type.  [Full Review]

Monday 26 March
Alcohol units: 0 (v.serious journal review deserves total concentration), words requiring lookup: 3 (still cannot find diegetic... typo?), paragraphs read: 6 (plan to finish after Sex & the City - Big will be on - Mmmmmmm, though he can be a bit of a Fuckwit at times)
Sight & Sound
(by Leslie Felperin, April 2001)

Film and book pull it off by dint of unforced charm and steely old-fashioned farce. It's lucky neither Bridget nor the film take themselves the least bit seriously....It would be easy to envy them as so many rich Notting Hill luvvies and to write off Bridget Jones as an exercise in preening nepotistic narcissism. Except that's it's really rather good—funny, engaging and winning in its self-deprecating modesty, albeit in a big-budget sort of way....

The only real concession to the American audience is the casting of Renée Zellweger as Bridget...but even this works to the film's advantage. Zellweger seems more of an outsider trying to fit in, with traces of American gaucheness poking through the skin of the performance and the accent just a little too studiedly posh. She has fine comic timing, as does Maguire, who shows a knack for the ironic counter-pointed edit, contrasting Bridget's voiceover pledges to sobriety one minute with her falling drunkenly out of a cab the next. Maguire's only glaring thud is the use of slow motion at moments of revelation, which strain too hard for poignancy. Otherwise, the film slips down as easily as Chardonnay, probably not v. good for one, but tasty nonetheless.   [Full Review with spoiler section]

Succinct review in manner of Mr Darcy.  Hmmm, wonder if Mr Cline can smoulder? No. of times MD mentioned 3, no. of times DC mentioned 2
Shadows on the Wall (3-1/2 stars)
(by Rich Cline, March 23, 2001)

[T]he result is another hugely entertaining Brit-com, filled with memorable characters and situations....There's nothing terribly original about the story—indeed, it's basically a 21st century reworking of Pride and Prejudice—but the character details make it great fun. As played by Zellweger, Jones is a pretty hopeless case, but we can't help but like her and root for her to find some happiness in her life...somewhere! Her friends are drawn in broad stereotypes, but are still hilarious. And both Grant and Firth make the most of roles that subtly subvert their well-honed images. As the plot lunges toward it's predictable finale, there are all kinds of joys along the way—carefully observed comedy extremely well-written....and adeptly directed.... No, it's not terribly demanding, and it's too busy setting up the happily-ever-after finale to even attempt a serious point about being single. But there are astute observations along the way, more than enough big laughs and, in Zellweger's capable hands, a terrific look at a singleton on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  [Full Review]

Tuesday 20 March
Calories: 2250 (bad, 'tubby' self had two tubs nonfat Haagen Daz chocolate sorbet), Emmenthal cheese cravings: 7, minutes questioning reviewer's judgment viz star of film and short shrift given more handsome and talented other actor: 245
(by Jane Crowther)

[T]he movie version of 'Bridget Jones's Diary' is faithful to its source, perfectly cast and even funnier than the book....The casting of skinny Texan Zellweger as the supposedly tubby, English Jones caused a minor kafuffle pre-production, but her performance is a revelation....her conviction is absolute....She brings warmth to the sometimes brittle character and offers a welcome reality check to the acres of stick-insect waifs that usually populate films.

Firth is also impressive as the glowering Darcy....Richard Curtis...provides a script bristling with wit, slapstick and spot-on, horribly relatable, observations. Hilarious, sweet and romantic, 'Bridget Jones's Diary' is must-see viewing for anyone who's ever drunkenly sung power ballads or had a scuffling scrap over a girl. Superb.  Full Review

Monday 19 March
9st 1 (v. bad, despite having refused blancmange last night), cigarettes: 15 (need to cover up 'fatal whiff of desperation'), calls to Shaz, Jude and Tom: 13 (look for book on consoling friends omitted from movie)
Bridget gets a new life
(Sarah Vine, The Times, March 19, 2001)

In case you hadn’t noticed, Bridget Jones the movie is almost upon us. Posters of Renée Zellweger with puffy jawline, dirty blonde hair and a cleavage like blancmange are popping up all over the place. Colin Firth broods; Hugh Grant smirks. By the time the thing actually opens on April 13, the only creatures on Earth not heartily sick of Ms Jones will be that remote colony of Emperor penguins which occasionally crops up on Sunday night reruns of Life on Earth.

Actually, we’ve been heartily sick of BJ for a while. It’s not really her fault, it’s just that when the first volume of Helen Fielding’s “diaries” came out in 1996 they were such a roaring success every publishing house in Britain signed up its own “Bridget Jones”, to varying degrees of success. Before Bridget, books with titles such as Rubber Gloves or Jimmy Choos (not, as you might imagine a book about fetish-wear) and Does My Bum Look Big In This? would have been laughed out of town. Now they jostle for space in the New Fiction section of Waterstone’s, their garish covers, swirly, girlie writing and quotes from Cosmo calling out to every passing unfertilised egg and broken heart.

They give unmarried women over the age of 30 a bad name. Men think that we’re all weight-obsessed maniacs, time-bombs with a pathological inability not to say the L-word after the third date. Which of course we are, but there’s no need to go on about it.

So when it came to the film, the prospect of 90 minutes of “vgs”, stick insects and smug marrieds felt about as appealing as yesterday’s reheated curry. But within five minutes of the opening credits, I knew I was going to be with Bridget all the way. Seeing Renée Zellweger, properly podgy in a most unHollywood way, serenading her empty apartment with a rousing rendition of Celine Dion’s All By Myself made my heart melt in almost Capra-esque fashion. I watched with a mixture of horror, pity and embarrassment as Bridget flung out her arms, screwed up her face and generally gave it her all. Personally, I would never stoop to Celine, but I’ve mimed to Mick Jagger singing Wild Horses in similar circumstances more times than I care to remember.

But the film’s real triumph is not so much the feeling of sisterly empathy, it’s the way Bridget—irritating and done-to-death Bridget—has had new life breathed into her. It’s not just Zellweger’s warm, endearing performance, or the witty casting (Colin Firth as Darcy may be wasted on US audiences, but to UK women he’s brooding masculinity personified). The real reason it works is that it’s a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy.

The diary is a conceit, just a handy prop. How clever to take Bridget Jones and throw away the one thing most likely to irritate us about her. It’s there, of course, but it’s more of a cameo than a leading role. Otherwise, we’re in pure girl-meets- boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-gets-boy-back again territory. There is a Good Man and a Bad Man. There are kisses in the snow and fisticuffs. It’s all as satisfying as clean, white sheets or warm puppies.

But what makes this Bridget special, and sets her apart from all the other self and fashion-obsessed harpies who populate our screens and bookshelves, is the unashamed happy ending. Unlike Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City or Ally McBeal, who must remain forever unfulfilled in order to maintain their ratings, Bridget not only gets her man, she gets the kind of man who says, in a Kleenex moment that almost defies belief, that he “likes her just the way she is”.

And, really, that’s all women want. If there’s hope for Bridget Jones, there’s hope for us all.

The strange allure she has for men
(James Christopher, The Times, March 19, 2001)

Six thirty pm. FOUR PINTS of Special Brew. 13st, 6lb. One Nicorette inhaler. I take my seat in the Empire cinema and promptly knock my drink over. I’m not looking forward to this diary of a desperate, overweight 32-year-old girl. I seem to be surrounded by thousands of them in this cinema. My sense of foreboding turns to gloom in the first five minutes.

Where did Renée Zellweger procure that ghastly English accent? And her niggly parents, Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones, look a bit iffy. Then there’s the dodgy uncle with the wandering hands. Will not be staying the weekend with the Joneses.

So what’s Bridget Jones’s big problem? She has got a nice job in a publishing house, and she’s being fought over by the two hottest male studs in Britain. Colin Firth is awkward Mr Darcy, naturally. And Hugh Grant is a smooth-talking bastard with the integrity of a flea. I’ve got my reservations about Hughie and Col. They’re not 18-pint Titans who thunder, roar and intimidate women into bed. (God stopped making the Richard Burtons and Ollie Reeds a long time ago.) They are classic buttock-clenchers: good-looking, upper-class twits with oodles of charm—deeply repressed in Firth’s case.

The real puzzle is why either of them are prepared to scrunch up perfectly good relationships—in Grant’s case an endless string of flings—to woo Renée Zellweger.

Is Bridget Jones the kind of girl men swoon over? No, not remotely. She is neurotic, needy, and overweight. Zellweger ate six pizzas, a fettucinni alfredo, several rounds of peanut butter sandwiches and three chocolate bars, daily, to fatten up for the role. She is not unattractive, but she is not a lads-mag sex goddess like Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz. She is plump and pasty, and very very English. (It’s one of the more remarkable features of Zellweger’s performance that her accent seems perfectly plausible after ten minutes.) What’s terrifying about her is that she leaks that unmistakable and fatal whiff of desperation that men instinctively recoil from. It’s a troubling, disastrous lack of self-confidence, heightened by Bridget being acutely aware of it.

The unlikely attentions of the suave Grant and the grumpy Firth seem no more than a desperately cruel two-pronged prank. What could two rich successful, and get this, single, men possibly see in a fluffy, average pen-pusher? Would Humphrey Bogart give this broad the time of day? He wouldn’t even check his watch. I know the British generally cultivate a mad fondness for the underdog, but there are limits.

The miracle of Sharon Maguire’s first feature is to make Bridget Jones thoroughly desirable against every conceivable odd. Bridget’s saving grace is a sense of humour, and an emotional honesty that makes you catch your breath.

Her fabulous ability to shoot herself in the foot inspires howls of laughter. Her capacity to cock up things in her new job as a TV presenter is almost heroic. Rather than wanting to ravish her, we want to cuddle her. We empathise. We are seduced by the essential lunacy of this obstinate romantic.

Yes, even stony-hearted men. I had tears streaming down my cheeks when Darcy finally pulled his head out of the sand and smouldered in Zellweger’s general direction.

What on earth was happening? How did this podgy clown reduce me to a puddle? I’m still trying to work it out. There are things revealed about women here that you really do not want to know. For this reason alone the film is essential male viewing.

(Sheila Johnston, March 19, 2001)

Bridget Jones's bestselling diaries made the fictional thirtysomething singleton Britain's most successful under-achiever of recent years, and the screen version of her intimate journal bears all the signs of becoming the UK's biggest film hit since Notting Hill....Structured much like the novel, the movie traces a year in the life of its heroine...

The film stands or falls by whether one accepts Zellweger's central performance and, sporting a credible British accent (if one several social notches above the level you would expect of her character), she lends Bridget an exuberance and sexiness undiminished by the fact that she gained at least 14 pounds for the role. Some fans of the book may find her too sweet and fluffy for the character (Bridget had a sharp tongue on her when required). Still, it's refreshing to see a weight- obsessed heroine who really is on the pudgy side, even if the actress is often shot in a way which does her no favours, with stringy hair and a flushed, bloated face.

Grant and Firth are well-placed as the male leads, although...the film gives short shrift to the other supporting charactersnotably Bridget's three best friends and sitcomy mother (Jones)although Jim Broadbent stands out as her gentle, brow-beaten father. It could also be argued that, in cutting many of the books' topical references to current events of the mid-1990s, the focus of the film has been further narrowed. Maguire's comic touch is a little heavy at times, but technical credits are, overall, polished.   [Full Review]

Saturday 17 March
Alcohol units: 7 (may need stay at Betty Ford-type clinic, preferably sharing room with Robert Downey Jr), comments on posh accent: 1 (v.g. as noticed attempt to improve self), times reading line 'Zellweger is perfect as Bridget': 235 (s/b thrilled but feel would be far better as myself)
Calling all Bridget Jones fans—
(Isobel Fox, femail.co.uk )

she's back from the edge of reason and will be gracing a cinema screen near you soon.

Based on the best-selling novel by Helen Fielding, the movie version of Bridget Jones' Diary is every bit as amusing as the literary one. It chronicles a year in the life of thirty-something singleton Bridget Jones, played by Texan Renee Zellweger, as she struggles with weight, work, men and her mother. Bridget gains 74 pounds (and loses 72), smokes more than 5,000 cigarettes and turns up at several parties where her married friends worry about her state as a single woman. That is until her charming boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) comes on the scene. Chiding her for wearing an obscenely short skirt to work, the pair embark on a relationship which after a heady start, spirals rapidly down hill when Bridget discovers he's been seeing someone from his publishing company's New York office. Refusing to let Cleaver get to her, Bridget decides on a drastic change of career, swapping publishing for TV news reporting. Her first bulletin from Lewisham fire station on Bonfire Night hilariously ends in disaster when she slides down the fireman's pole and lands on the cameraman, with the result that her bottom is broadcast live to the nation.

Meanwhile second love interest Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) is lurking in the background. At first Bridget doesn't like Mark, in fact she can't stand him, mostly due to the fact he was rude to her at her mother's turkey curry buffet where he was wearing  a hideous reindeer jumper. While at first the feeling is mutual, Darcy starts to develop feelings for Bridget, which soon become clear on Bridget's birthday where her disastrous culinary skills means she ends up feeding her guests soup that's turned blue. But Darcy has competitionCleaver also turns up at Bridget's flat after realising that he misses her and wants her back.

Zellweger is perfect as Bridget. Having piled on the pounds for the role (and it shows) her natural breezy mad-cap style epitomises Bridget to a tee. Her English accentperhaps slightly too upper-classis convincing and doesn't slip once. Director Sharon Maguire made an excellent choice casting Colin Firth as the smouldering Mark Darcy, and a lean, long-haired Hugh Grant makes a surprisingly good anti-hero as Daniel Cleaver. Watch out for cameo appearances from Lord  Archer and Salman Rushdie.

Closely based on the events in the book, the film keeps up a level of humour throughout. There are certain points which are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Like the time Bridget turns up at her relatives' tarts and vicars party only to find out that the theme party idea had been dropped. Or the time when her mother's new shopping channel presenter boyfriend is having his make-up touched up and he tells the artist to stop being so clumsy in words which are too rude to repeat here, but very, very funny.

Bridget Jones is guaranteed to be this Spring's smash hit movie. More amusing than Notting Hill, it's light, entertaining and provides a couple of hours of escapism which are well worth the price of a cinema ticket.

Friday 23 February
Alcohol units 6 (mainly celebratory and before noon, so do not count), weight references 3 (bad, but stopped short of calling me fat cow, v.g.), comments on accent 0 (excellent - time at pubs well spent), thoughts about shagging Baz 762 (must be v. handsome man as has superior taste in films)
Bridget Jones: Here’s one you must mark in your diary
(Baz Bambigboye, Daily Mail, February 23, 2001)

There’s a moment in the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary where Colin Firth, as Mark Darcy if you please, tells Renée Zellweger (as our anti-heroine) that he likes her just the way she is—she’s not a perfect size ten, her hair’s a disaster, she chain-smokes, likes a bevvy and can’t cook. The scene, like the film, has stayed with me because we are normally bombarded with the images of an idyllic woman who is desirable because she's x-ray thin and drop-dead gorgeous but, oh, so shallow. Real men like curves and personality. Renée Zellweger’s Bridget works because she’s an everywoman figure (cue Chaka Khan belting out I’m Every Woman on the great soundtrack). It’s worth noting that you forget in about 20 seconds Renée Zellweger is Texan. Kate Winslet was going to do it, but became pregnant. Helen Fielding’s book was too girlie for me, but the movie, to my great surprise, works on many levels and blokes will get a kick out of it.

Hugh Grant plays Firth’s love rival, a publisher who typifies the Great English Bastard. It’s Grant’s most successful role in several years, for we have long tired of his foppish wimp. The other good news is that Bridget Jones’s Diary, opening in April, was made by first time feature director Sharon Maguire and she has a sure touch, though aided by a fine screenplay from Fielding, Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis.

Ms Maguire hails from Coventry and read English and drama at Aberystwyth University. The fictional Ms Jones attended Bangor University. As Ms Maguire travelled to Shepperton to complete fine-tuning the picture, she told me “It always breaks the ice at parties when I’m with Oxbridge types and I brag: “I went to Aberystwyth!””

She believes the book tackled loneliness dressed up as a comic anecdote. “It also has a truth about it,” she says. “The producer kept saying “It’s a comedy, right? It’s a comedy?” Yeah, yeah”, she quickly reassured him.

Casting the three main leads—Zellweger, Grant and Firth—pushed the budget from an independent film to something that had Universal Pictures and Miramax Films grabbing a chunk of the spoils from Britain’s Working Title company. They all turned up the heat on Ms Maguire. “Amazingly, I was allowed to direct it, but with so many people putting their money in, everybody has had a piece of it” she says.

“They’ve all got their ideas and you’ve got to negotiate through them and that’s really hard. In the post-production phase, there was a lot of input but I am still here” she said wearily.

“Some directors get locked out of the cutting room. I know at times people tried to do that to me, but I stayed whether they wanted me to or not”.

The movie’s a triumph for her, and for Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan, the guys from Working Title who set it all up. What with Billy Elliott and Captain Corelli’s Madolin, these two unsung heroes of British film are riding high.

Links to other online reviews:
American Dreamer (Reel Ranking: A)

The Trades by guest reviewer Gabriella Kejner (9/10)

Scott A. Mantz (4/5 stars)

Fred Mertz at AICN

Clarence Beaks' test screening review at AICN

Capone's review at AICN

Links to other online interviews:
Mr Showbiz interview with Renee Zellweger

Gabrielle (videoclip) on GMTV

Paul Fischer's interview with Colin Firth at Dark Horizon

Popcorn interview with Renee Zellweger from March 20, 2001

Entertainment Tonight interview with Renee Zellweger from March 20

With the brilliant assistance of Lisa and Emma.

To Latest News Read the continuing columns from The Telegraph Read about the supporting cast On location with Bridget What's on the soundtrack See publicity pics from the movie and links to the trailer New frock, scarry pants - am ready for red carpet

 "And now back to the studio"

 Back to main Bucket page