Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bridget Jones's Dairy (2001)

I know, this movie is pure fluff culled from the Barnes and Noble shelf called chick lit that no one wants to admit to reading and certainly, no movie buff would ever admit to liking a movie made from … chick lit. Well, I can’t claim to be a major movie buff, though I try, but I can claim to love this movie. It is my movie version of flannel PJs and hot chocolate. It makes me feel warm inside and always – ALWAYS - makes me feel better, mood-wise, for having watched it. I don’t care that it is fluff. Sometimes, fluff is comfort and therefore … good.

Movie Poster for "Bridget Jones's Dairy"

One of the most amazing things about this being total fluff is that, at its core, it really isn’t total fluff at all. The whole framework of the plot is based up Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” which happens to be one of my all-time favorite books. So you take a classic novel adored by women all over and add the fun fluff on top and … in my mind, that is pretty brilliant.

So what is all this fluff about? Well, this movie spans a year in the life of Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) as she decides to keep a diary in the hopes of getting it all together. She wants to do all the things that single women want – lose weight, develop a great career, find a man and live happily ever after. Of course, since this is a light romantic comedy, things don’t go nearly so easy. There are two men in her life, over the course of the year. One is Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) – not hard for any Jane Austen fan to decipher who he is. The second is Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) who also happens to be Bridget’s boss. Over the course of the year, not only does she contend with those men, but she has her crazy friends, her parents splitting up and her mom’s new boyfriend and other zany antics to keep anyone like me in complete delight for the length of the movie.

One of the things that I love about this film is that the heroine is so likable, but yet, a complete wreck. At every turn she says the wrong thing and does the wrong thing. She gets herself into the most embarrassing situations and always manages to grin and bear her way through it all. Renee Zellweger is not a favorite actress of mine, but she so totally embodies Bridget Jones that I am not sure anyone else could have done the part justice.

The other thing that makes this one so much fun is taking Hugh Grant, an icon of the female ideal for a romantic comedy and actually turning him into the totally charming and totally adorable … cad. It works so well because I swear Hugh’s eyes sparkle in delight just from his relief of getting to be a bad boy for once in his life. He seems to relish the role of cad and we relish his enjoyment.

Lastly, dear Colin Firth. Who doesn’t love this man? He is so adorable just standing there looking all stuffy. Any woman who has seen the BBC mini-series version of “Pride and Prejudice” completely lost their mind when he came striding out of the lake after his swim as Mark Darcy. Now here he is as Mark Darcy, again, a couple centuries or so later, being the reserved but strong and wonderful man we all love.

I have seriously seen this movie probably more than 15 times (yes, I know how pathetic that makes me and no, I don’t care) and I still adore it as much as I did the first time. I still laugh at how silly and poignant Bridget is to me and my own experiences and I think she always will be. It is a great movie around the holidays as it is about New Year’s resolutions and holiday gatherings. I highly recommend this movie for anyone who can stomach a total chick flick as it is by far, my recent (say, the last 30 years or so) favorite of the entire genre. Oh, and one word of warning for you, my dear readers, all two of you. Skip the sequel "The Edge of Reason" - just, oof, trust me on this one.