Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

(In theaters, April 2001) I’m all wrong for this type of film, but that shouldn’t stop me from stating that it’s quite enjoyable. No, I don’t have a lot in common with Bridget Jones, a thirtyish Londoner obsessed by her alcohol consumption, smoking, weight and impending spinsterhood, but some of my colleagues do and the film plays those strings like a virtuoso. In any case, the film is executed with all the grace, good-natured charm and technical polish so typical of British-set romantic comedies produced by Americans. Better-than-average script, sympathetic characters, funny set-pieces and a happy ending ensure that no one should feel cheated. You might not want to see it, but if you catch the first five minutes, you’ll be hooked until the end. There are problems, certainly; Renee Zellweger is incapable of looking anything worse than adorable, making her portrait of a plain girl a bit unbelievable. She does turn in one of her best performances yet, along with a solid Colin Firth and the ever-dependable Hugh Grant (who successfully manages to portray a real bastard without really deviating from his usual aw-shucks shtick.) The script is filled with a mind-boggling array of coincidences, unfortunately cheapening the narrative (At its worst, a trip to the convenience store ends up with something akin to “Oh, so you are the barrister of this incredibly important guy whom I’m trying to interview!”) A few unfortunate shortcuts also undermine the ending, which stretches believability a bit too thinly to provide a fully satisfying ending. Still, as far as romantic comedies so, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a fine one. Cheer up whenever your significant other suggests it.

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