Thursday, July 21, 2011

The First DVD I Saw Was Bridget Jones's Diary!

The Good: Funny, Well-acted, Good pace, Good use of music, Deleted scenes are wonderful!
The Bad: Predictable and weaker on character than expected.
The Basics: An entertaining film, despite being classic Romantic in its plot structure, Bridget Jones's Diary is funny and well acted, a great date flick or the cure to a lonely evening.

When I first changed over from VHS to DVD, I was surprised by the quality of the medium. I suspect now that it colored my viewing of Bridget Jones's Diary, but the truth is, I enjoyed the feel of being overwhelmed by the medium, so I am not going back to reevaluate the film.

First off, if anyone of any importance in making these decisions is reading this, let me say that all DVDs that include deleted scenes ought to have a function that allows the deleted scenes to be flawlessly inserted in the film where they would have been. On the DVD, there are deleted scenes from Bridget Jones's Diary and they are hilarious. I swear, I laughed more in the five to ten minutes of deleted scenes than I did in the rest of the movie. Finally someone found a worthwhile place for Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby!"

Bridget Jones's Diary is the story of, predictably enough, Bridget Jones. She is working as a publicist at a publishing house, anxious about various aspects in her life which include smoking, drinking, weight control and the lack of a male in her life. Well, the latter is the first thing to go as she and her boss, Daniel Cleaver, begin a relationship. Interspersed in her relationship with Cleaver are encounters with an apparently bland, stable, disagreeable Mark Darcy.

Okay, the film takes place in England and you have a character named Darcy. Can you tell there's a Jane Austen thing going on here? This film takes the classical English paradigm for a romance story. Knowing that, you know who Bridget ends up with and why.

My beefs with this film are few and far between. Having just checked my facts on the IMDB, I add my beef with the casting department; Collin Firth played Mr. Darcy in a miniseries of Pride And Prejudice. Casting him here as Mr. Darcy is just cruel.

But, Colin Firth is good. I was very pleased with his performance. Actually, Renee Zellweger did well, too. She's not as squinty in her films as she is when she appears on talkshows, so that was a pleasant surprise. And while the scene stealer is supposed to be Hugh Grant, Colin Firth fills that; the scenes he's in, he dominates.

My only real disappointment (other than realizing the Austenian nature of the film the moment a Mr. Darcy made an entrance) was with character. I expected Bridget to be better defined. Sure, the film gives updates as to her weight, blood alcohol level and number of cigarettes, but character is something more. While I think her desire not to be lonely is clear, I think this film will find itself dated in fifty or seventy years. As it is, I didn't find much compulsion in the film for Bridget to want to be with someone. She's a strong enough individual without anyone else. And yet, she seems determined to change that about herself. As society becomes more comfortable with strong women who are self-actualized, I think this film, which on its surface may appear to be strongly feminist with its good female protagonist, Bridget Jones's desperate desire for love as opposed to companionship, real companionship, will make less sense.

As it is, we're not fifty years from now yet, so it's pretty wonderful to watch now.

More than anything else, this is entertaining. I found myself laughing! (Which, if you read my other reviews of late, you'll know it's something I've been waiting on desperately!). I enjoyed the music and thought it was well inserted throughout the film and more than anything, I found myself engaged. How good it that? There's little more one may ask from a film.

For other movies featuring Colin Firth, please check out my reviews of:
The King's Speech
A Christmas Carol
Love Actually
Shakespeare In Love
The English Patient


For other movie reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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