Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is a 32-year-old "singleton" ("single woman" in Bridget-speak) who finds herself perpetually enmeshed in various crises--her constant battle to lose weight and quit smoking her parents' separation her infatuation with bad-boy literary agency boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) her dismal love life. After a particularly disheartening Christmas Bridget decides it's time to take the bull by the horns and change her life. She resolves to stick to her New Year's resolutions by tracking her successes--and failures--in a diary. Despite every attempt to get her life together she still finds herself in some hilariously sticky situations and involved in a peculiar unexpected love triangle. Endearingly funny and forthright the neurotic fluffy Zellweger is a joy to watch in this role. Despite the UK's uproar at casting Texas native Zellweger as an improper Englishwoman months of training with an accent coach paid off (by the end you'll wish you were a Brit too). Though she gained 20 pounds for the part Zellweger seems unfazed at showing herself in the most physically unflattering light--her thighs were ready for their closeup. Grant as caddish Daniel has just the right sly glint in his eye although the inside-joke casting of Colin Firth as suitor Mark Darcy falls flat--he's charmless and there's little chemistry between him and Zellweger. Bridget's trio of wacky friends Jude (Shirley Henderson) Shazzer (Sally Phillips) and Tom (James Callis) comically add their own well-intentioned but often misguided advice to the mix.
Author Helen Fielding herself handpicked her fledgling filmmaker friend Sharon Maguire to direct the movie of her book and no doubt Maguire soon will be fielding plenty of offers stateside. In fact as the real-life inspiration for Bridget's friend Shazza Maguire was so familiar with the material she was more than capable of translating it fluently into visuals. Bridget tosses so many laugh-out-loud squirm-in-your-seat-embarassing scenes at you there's never a dull moment. But inexplicably the film abandons the quirky journal-entry techniques in its second half and some things don't ring true (the suitors' showdown; the final climax) and some are just odd (the ending childhood flashback film).