Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
Diary of a Big Knicker Wearer
This is an occasion for genuinely tiny knickers - Bridget Jones
As New Year's day of her 32nd year provides another humiliation thanks to her parents, city girl Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger - Me, Myself & Irene) decides that this year is going to be different and plans to write a truthful diary as she attempts to change her life. But her resolutions get thrown out of the window when she starts a relationship with her devilishly charming boss Daniel Carver (Hugh Grant - Mickey Blue Eyes) yet still finds herself with a strange fondness for the dour Mark Darcy (Colin Firth - Shakespeare in Love) who she met at her parents New Year's day party.
So here's the truth I have never read Helen Fielding's articles or book on which "Bridget Jones's Diary" is based and so for me this movie is not a bringing to life of a character I already knew but a romantic comedy which has Richard Curtis's writing style stamped all over it as he worked on the screenplay. As such there is something familiar to this movie as it has the same sort of humour and feeling as the likes of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and as such we get the humorous moments of random swearing which take you aback and make you laugh.
Anyway whilst having never read the book "Bridget Jones's Diary" is a fun movie an amusing episodic look at the life of Bridget as she decides enough is enough and will make her 32nd year a better one, something which happens to many people every year. And what follows are her romantic tribulations from having an affair with the boss to falling for the guy who she initially dislikes. Plus there are career disasters, mishaps with big knickers and a Playboy bunny costume to boot. To say this story is both fanciful and random would be no word of a lie but it is also strangely amusing.
Now here is the thing the actual romantic storyline to "Bridget Jones's Diary" does little for me although the humour of these relationships amuses me. And in a way that is what I like about "Bridget Jones's Diary" the humour from the situations such as the scene where Daniel Cleaver discovers Bridget's big knickers under her tiny dress to her first live TV report and an incident with a fireman's pole. It's life embellished to the comical extreme, mishaps which could happen but turned into something funnier and it is this side of the movie which has grown on me. Where I once found it all fanciful nonsense the clever humour, and at times it is, has shown itself with some memorable scenes. Not wanting to spoil anything but the fight scene between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth is priceless and so well done as they kick and slap each other like little boys before finally grappling.
Not all of the humour works and sometimes the comedy seems to go too far. Humour surrounding a randy uncle, blue soup and to be honest a Playboy bunny costume feels too forced, over worked to the point that it is corny. And that is partly why I initially disliked "Bridget Jones's Diary" because it bordered on the corny, from the narration to extreme characters or should that be caricatures.
But along with the humour growing on me so have the performances and whilst I may not empathise with all the thirty something single woman angst of Bridget Jones Renee Zellweger creates an unforgettable character. But in many ways it is Zellweger's complete commitment to making a fool of herself which makes it work, from those big knickers to singing along to a song at the start. And to be honest also having Hugh Grant and Colin Firth playing love interests doesn't hurt matters either because like Zellweger there are no reservations it is full on performances from them both even when they are made to look foolish.
What this all boils down to is that "Bridget Jones's Diary" was once a movie I quite literally detested but ironically have grown to enjoy. The actual romantic storyline still does little for me but the humour from the various episodes and the total commitment to acting the fool by its stars has made me change my mind. And with a touch of Christmas about it, it is quite pleasant at the right time of the year.
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