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Bridget Jones (1)'s Diary
Director: Sharon Maguire
Screenplay: Richard Curtis
Producer: Jonathan Cavendish
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Gemma Jones, Celia Imrie, James Faulkner
Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 97
Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 (NTSC Widescreen)
Sound: Dolby
Subtitles: Spanish
Studio:  Miramax DVD Region:  1 R
DVD Release:  Nov 2004 Discs:  1 (Cloud) []
Reviews:  Featuring a blowzy, winningly inept size-12 heroine, "Bridget Jones's Diary" is a fetching adaptation of Helen Fielding's runaway bestseller, grittier than "Ally McBeal" but sweeter than "Sex and the City". The normally sylphlike Renée Zellweger ("Nurse Betty", "Me, Myself and Irene") wolfed pasta to gain poundage to play "singleton" Bridget, a London-based publicist who divides her free time between binge eating in front of the TV, downing Chardonnay with her friends, and updating the diary in which she records her negligible weight fluctuations and romantic misadventures of the year. Things start off badly at Christmas when her mother tries to set her up with seemingly standoffish lawyer Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), whom Bridget accidentally overhears dissing her. Instead she embarks on a disastrous liaison with her raffish boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant, infinitely more likeable when he's playing a baddie instead of his patented tongue-tied fops). Eventually, Bridget comes to wonder if she's let her pride prejudice her against the surprisingly attractive Mr. Darcy.
If the plot sounds familiar, that's because Fielding's novel was itself a retelling of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice", whose romantic male lead is also named Mr. Darcy. An extra ironic poke in the ribs is added by the casting of Firth, who played Austen's haughty hero in the acclaimed BBC adaptation of Austen's novel. First-time director Sharon Maguire directs with confident comic zest, while Zellweger twinkles charmingly, fearlessly baring her cellulite and pulling off a spot-on English accent. Like "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill" (both of which were written by this film's coscreenwriter, Richard Curtis), "Bridget Jones"'s stock-in-trade is a very English self-deprecating sense of humor, a mild suspicion of Americans (especially if they're thin and successful), and a subtly expressed analysis of thirtysomething fears about growing up and becoming a "smug married." The whole is, as Bridget would say, v. good. "--Leslie Felperin"

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