Tonight, I went to see 'Bridget Jones' Diary'. I know. I'm a guy and I didn't go with a woman. But I went. I'll confess. I went to one of the most anticipated 'chick flicks' in years without a woman. I don't know. I just feel that the whole 'chick flick', 'guy movie' thing is a disservice. If the movie is good, why shouldn't everyone see it? If the movie is bad, no one should see it. Calling 'Someone Like You' a 'chick flick' does a disservice to females. Does that mean that they like tepid, recycled cr*p? I hope not.
I had a feeling I would like 'Bridget Jones' Diary', which is why I went on opening night, sitting in the middle of hundreds of women with their boyfriends and groups of female friends.
I was surprised by how much I liked it.
Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) is a young, single woman living in London. At 32, she begins to wonder why she can't have a meaningful relationship. She begins to wonder why she isn't married. Her mother is no help. She attempts to fix Bridget up with Mark D'Arcy (Colin Firth), a former childhood friend. Things don't go especially well and she runs into the arms of her boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). Their relationship blooms, hot and heavy, until...
'Bridget Jones' Diary' is certainly not the most original movie in the world. It is pretty evident who Bridget will end up with in the end. One of the things that makes the film great is the journey. Bridget has to deal with Cleaver's boss, an older gentleman who cannot remember her name, a lecherous 'uncle', three friends, a mother and father who are having their own crisis and her own relationships with D'Arcy and Cleaver. There are a lot of funny lines in the film, lines that are that much funnier because they arise from only slightly exaggerated circumstances.
Zellweger is terrific. From the moment she opens her mouth, any doubts about a Texan pulling off a convincing British accent disappear. She becomes a young British woman, and they are very different from young American women. She has the mannerisms, the tastes, the size, the accent of a young British woman. Zellweger received a Golden Globe award for 'Nurse Betty", also a great film, and deserves another one for this role.
Usually, a film with ongoing voice over sort of sends me over the edge. However, the voiceover in 'Diary' is very good. It serves to highlight points in the film, rather than bridge them and make up for a lacking narrative.
Grant plays a character very different from his ultra-romantic, slightly dithering standard (see 'Four Weddings And A Funeral' and 'Notting Hill' for prime examples) and he reveals that he actually has a bit of range.
Firth is a real find in this film. Usually relegated to period British films, Firth portrays a very handsome man who gets on Jones' nerves. His ability to woo Jones' provides for some very romantic moments. Zellweger and Firth are a great, romantic couple. The fact that they have to work for the relationship only adds to the authenticity of the story.
Jones' mum and dad are played by Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent. Each is a very good actor, but their story seems tacked on and irrelevant. It only serves to draw us out of the main story, rather than compliment it.
The third act has problems. Primarily, it goes on too long. We already know who Jones' is going to end up with, get to the scene in which it happens. The third act reminded me a bit of the television series 'Moonlighting' and the reason the series drove its viewers mad. The series took forever to get David and Maddie together. 'Diary' takes a long time to reach the inevitable.
Overall, Diary, I really enjoyed 'Bridget Jones's Diary' and can't understand this whole 'chick flick' moniker it has received. If a film is good, shouldn't everyone go to see it?