Bridget Jones's Diary (Blu-ray)
Based on the novel by Helen Fieldings, the movie adaptation of BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY first hit the silver screen in the spring of 2001. It’s hard to believe that we were first introduced to this “every woman” character more than 10 years ago. But as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of romantic comedies, I can confidently say that this film is probably one of the best and most loved from that decade.
The turn of another new year has come and gone and Bridget Jones (Zellweger) is tired of her predictable life. She commits to a personal self-help regime by writing encouragements in her diary, willing her inner diva to walk away from alcohol, smoking, complex carbs and emotionally unavailable men. She sighs at her mother’s blatant attempt to match make her with Mark Darcy (Firth) who is a top barrister in London with a frosty disposition. Instead, she exchanges naughty emails and ends up in a torrid affair that includes booze and post-coital cigarettes with a man who has the emotional availability of a teaspoon. Clearly, the year is not off to a good start.
With a band of merry mates giving welcome advice in her relationship woes, Bridget processes the inevitable ups and downs of her love life with a pen and paper. We soon learn that her boss is a cad. Mark Darcy is a mystery. And she will inevitably end up a spinster who is one day eaten by wild dogs in her apartment.
It’s actually refreshing to see Grant transition from his usual lovable characters (see Notting Hill) into a scoundrel. Ironically, he plays “the villain” with a certain charm that is actually quite endearing. You root against him and then somehow feel badly about it. And in a moment of casting brilliance, Firth, who starred in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, simply channels his inner Mr. Darcy and slowly reveals to the viewing audience and Bridget a little piece of his heart with each scene.
Zellweger certainly shines too. She gained 20 pounds for the role and hired a dialect coach to master an English accent. Her emotions are easily displayed with every trademark squint and quirky giggle. I think Bridget Jones works as a leading character in a romantic comedy because she’s the real deal. She doesn’t weigh 110 pounds. She wears “stomach sucking in panties” on her date. She can’t see the amazing guy right in front of her because she longs after the one who is not good enough. She often falls off the wagon. She gets back on. She has nagging parents. She’s not content in her job. She’s weak some days. She’s strong some days. She’s utterly human and can only summon up the nerve to admit these truths to her diary. Ask any woman around, and I’m sure she can relate to at least one of these circumstances.
BRIDET JONES’S DIARY teaches us that romance overcomes all obstacles, including a jelly donut, a bottle of Jack Daniels or a jerk of a boss. True love does exist. We just have to find it.
Video: 1080 2:35:1 High Definition: The colors pop, it’s mostly sharp, but there are a few fuzzy, glowing parts that I feel were shot that way on purpose to magnify the sad scenes.
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: The fight scene with Darcy and Daniel set to the tune of “It’s Raining Men” was brilliant.
Audio Commentary:Director Sharon Maguire gives the audio commentary. She talks about how she gave the actors freedom to ad lib some of the scenes. Most of the time she comments on exactly what is going on in the movie, which sort of defeats the point.
The Young and the Mateless: This is an expert’s guide to being single. It basically bashes married couples and empowers single people to be the center of their own universe.
The Bridget Phenomenon: Helen Fieldings and Sharon Maguire talk about how Bridget Jones is successful because she is essentially every woman. We pretend to be liberated, but really want to be rescued by Mr. Darcy.
Behind the Scene Featurette: It’s all about applying a sense of humor to your mishaps. It’s about not being tied to conventional casting, even though the whole of Britain was irritated that a Texan was playing the part of Bridget. It’s about showing gratuitous shots of Hugh Grant in a wet shirt. It’s about stealing an amazing plot from Jane Austen.
Portrait of the Make-Up Artist: It was pretty special. I’m a bit confused. It was like the Garnier hair and make-up room from Project Runway. Skip it.
Deleted Scenes: “Have You Met Ms. Jones?”, “Bridget Jones – Marketing Genius”, “Dad – Not V.G.”, “Phone Message – Not V.G.”, “How to Attract a Man”, “The Perfect Relationship” and “And Finally” – The deleted scenes, as in most cases, were underwhelming. It was a good choice to leave these scenes out of the movie.
A Guide To Bridget-isms: This is a list of words and translations from the world of Bridget Jones.