Judge Patrick Naugle proudly endorses Ben & Jerry's Phish Food as his I'm-single-and-feeling-lonely ice cream.
Uncensored. Uninhibited. Unmarried.
Meet the exasperated, frustrated, and stylishly swinging Bridget Jones (Oscar winner Renée Zellweger, Cold Mountain). Bridget is a single, slightly overweight, career oriented woman who is looking for love in all the wrong places. In an attempt to turn her life around, Bridget begins a journal that will chronicle her misadventures in life and love. She tries to stop smoking and lose weight, and most importantly, attempt to find true happiness with the opposite sex. Her love life takes her on some pretty wild whirlwind adventures, including a love triangle with her egotistical boss (Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and a stiffly presentable family friend (Colin Firth, Love Actually) who Bridget first despises, then begins to desire. All the while we're privy to Bridget's innermost thoughts as she discovers the pratfalls and perils of being a single woman in the city.
I liked Bridget Jones's Diary, but I did not love it. I guess that's pretty good considering the fact that I wasn't expecting much to begin with. I'm not familiar with the book upon which it's based, and have not seen the sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. I like Hugh Grant and think that Renée Zellweger is easy on the eyes. As for the film, it's an amiable enough romantic comedy with some funny sequences and a few lulls in-between. If you were a fan of the book, you'll most certainly enjoy the film; from what I understand, they did a good job of not mucking up the page-to-screen translation.
I think the reason Bridget Jones's Diary is so popular is that single people can really relate to it. Who doesn't go through times when they feel inadequate, overweight, underappreciated, or just plain bland? Bridget Jones is an every woman struggling to find "Mr. Right" in a world filled with a lot of "Mr. Right Nows." Her plight speaks to us because we understand what she's going through—much of the comedy comes from Bridget trying to impress some guy that, even if she meets him, will most likely result in disaster. That, in essence, is the heart of Bridget Jones's Diary.
Around that heart is a lot of goofy bits culled together from almost every other romantic comedy ever made. Bridget's two love interests are textbook: there's the smug playboy (Grant) and the stuffy stiff (Firth) Bridget first spars with, then begins to warm to. These aren't really original characters, though they're played well by both Grant and Firth. Firth is good at giving an icy cool veneer, while Grant exudes all the qualities a woman looks for when she's not really looking for something stable, honest or truly lovable. Once again, Grant proves that he's an underrated actor when it comes to big comedy and pratfalls.
As for Renée Zellweger, she is apt as Bridget Jones. I say only apt because I, for some reason, had a hard time buying her as a single English lady. This isn't to say that her performance isn't good—in fact, I found her to be quite charming and funny. I think my mind just wouldn't let me see her as 100% British. Others might feel differently, and that's why the world is so great—we don't have to see eye to eye.
In the end, Bridget Jones's Diary is a funny, cute romantic comedy that is better than some of the other films Hollywood has to offer. There were moments when I sympathized with the main character because, even though she's female, I have been in those situations. Singleness sucks, but not so much so if you can dance the night away while eating a pint of chocolate ice cream in your bedroom.
Bridget Jones's Diary: Collector's Series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Although I've never seen the original DVD release of this film, I can safely say that this transfer looks excellent. The colors are all brightly rendered without any bleeding in the image. The black levels are all solid and dark. I did not spot any edge enhancement, dirt, or other imperfections that would otherwise mar the image. Overall fans should be happy with how nice this picture looks.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. Much like the video transfer, this sound mix is very good. The surround sound feature is used mostly when pop music is playing in the background. Because this is a mostly front heavy romantic comedy, the use of aggressive directional effects is rather minimal. However, there are a few moments where the rear speakers kick in. Also included on this disc is a French language track as well as Spanish and English subtitles.
This newly minted "Collector's Edition" isn't fooling anyone: Miramax has released it to promote the sequel. But I'm sure fans of the film aren't complaining, even though many of the supplements are holdovers from the original DVD release. Starting off the disc is a commentary track by director Sharon Maguire that dishes out a lot of info on the production, casting, and comedy bits. "The Young and the Mateless" takes a look at the single scene and what it takes to be a single in this day and age. "The Bridget Phenomenon" is really just a plug for the sequel. "Portrait of a Make-Up Artist" is pretty much what it sounds like.
Also included are some deleted scenes (all presented in anamorphic widescreen), over 100 original "Bridget Jones Diary" columns, a short behind-the-scenes featurette, a few domestic and international TV spots, a guide to Bridget Britishisms, reviews of the film, a trailer for the new Bridget Jones: The Edge or Reason, and some sneak previews for other Miramax films.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Other Reviews You Might Enjoy
Scales of Justice
• Commentary by Director Sharon Maguire
Review content copyright © 2005 Patrick Naugle; Site design and review layout copyright © 2016 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.