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"Bridget Jones's Diary" Movie Review
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Prior to the release of "Bridget Jones's Diary," critics were concerned about Renee Zellweger's ability to deliver a believable English accent. Even Renee was a bit uncertain as to how the public would judge her. Based on the universal praise, and box-office ticket sales since it's April 13, 2001 opening day, Renee's accent is a non-issue. Along with outstanding performances from the immensely talented Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, Renee's performance has wowed critics and moviegoers alike.

Renee Zellweger stars as Bridget Jones, a single 30-something, with a meddling mother, a cad for a boss, and a close knit circle of eccentric friends. Her love life is non-existent, while her consumption of alcohol and her addiction to cigarettes is close to lethal. At the end of her proverbial rope, she attempts to take charge of her life by keeping a diary. In addition to info on the latest "singleton" her mother has tried to set her up with, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth in an understated yet memorable performance), notations in her diary include the exact number of cigarettes she's smoked that day and updates on her ever-fluctuating weight.

Knowing in her head that he's definitely off-limits, yet unable to convincingly relay that info to her heart, Bridget begins dating her boss, Daniel Cleaver (played with wicked charm by Hugh Grant). He's a publishing executive with too much testosterone for his own good. On the surface, the two actually seem to have a wonderful relationship, but you just know that they're not going to have a fairy tale ending. Mark Darcy (minus the tacky, yet strangely enduring, reindeer sweater he was wearing when Bridget's mom first tried to play matchmaker) pops in and out of the picture as Bridget and Daniel's relationship develops and then falls apart. Seems Mark and Daniel have a history - though Daniel's tale of their joint past is in direct opposition to Mark's memories of the same events.

Filmgoers should have fun equating Bridget's relationship trials and tribulations with their own experiences, or that of their friends. There's a little bit of Bridget in almost everyone. Moviegoers who love to laugh out loud without fear of embarrassment will find like-minded audiences attending "Bridget Jones's Diary." "Bridget Jones's Diary" is a rare jewel with honest, intelligent, and humorous dialogue delivered by an outstanding cast. Even "serious" moviegoers can relax and enjoy this delightful film.

I loved this film and immediately wanted to rush out and buy the soundtrack. The songs selected for the soundtrack fit the film perfectly and became a major contributor to the film's overall ambience. Every emotion Bridget goes through is verbalized through the teaming of the scenes with the songs. When Bridget finds herself torn between the sexually-charged relationship with Daniel and the more sedate, yet cerebral, connection with Mark, "It's Raining Men" pounds through theatre speakers. It's moments like that that make "Bridget Jones's Diary" a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Overall Grade: A-

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Based on the international bestseller by Helen Fielding, "Bridget Jones's Diary" was shot June thru August 2000 and grossed $10.8 million during its opening weekend. Rated R for language and strong sexuality.

Director - Sharon Maguire
Producers - Jonathan Cavendish, Eric Fellner & Tim Bevan
Screenplay - Helen Fielding, Richard Curtis & Andrew Davies
Cinematographer - Stuart Dryburgh
Production Designer - Gemma Jackson
Costume Designer - Rachael Fleming

Bridget Jones - Renee Zellweger
Daniel Cleaver - Hugh Grant
Mark Darcy - Colin Firth
Shazzer - Sally Phillips
Jude - Shirley Henderson
Tom - James Callis
Julian - Patrick Barlow
Natasha - Embeth Davidtz
Penny - Honor Blackman
Greg - Crispin Bonham-Carter
Colin - Jim Broadbent
Una - Celia Imrie
Pam - Gemma Jones

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