Helen Fielding's infamous journal-keeper makes her big-screen debut, armed with Chardonnay, fags and a king-size bar of chocolate. And with gorgeous boss Daniel and hunky barrister Mark vying for her affections.
The cinematic adaptation of Helen Fielding's chick lit classic was an endeavour fraught with pitfalls: the first person narration was never going to be an easy crossover to movies; the potential to alienate the male cinema-goer was massive; and the selection of Texan Zellweger to play Britain's favourite neurotic raised further suspicions. However, what first-time director Maguire, the writers and the perfectly-pitched cast have created is another great British rom-com that manages to be even funnier and more romantic than Notting Hill.
The film's success is thanks in no small part to the three leads. Grant, as the deliciously dastardly Daniel, has never been better - far sexier as a posh cad and bounder than the usual foppish sweetie. Devilish and charming in equal measure - and with a dash of the Rupert Everetts about him - it's easy to see why Bridge can't resist his sleazy charms. Firth, meanwhile, is less of a showman, but appropriately revisits the haughty yet smouldering Mr. Darcy of the BBC's Pride And Prejudice, the subject of so much girlie lusting in the original diary; as aloof barrister Mark Darcy, he's six-foot of repressed passion just waiting to be unleashed. Zellweger, meanwhile, who rarely lets the accent slip, more than answers her critics, lurching from one disaster to the next, but still managing to balance her endearing daffiness with an irresistible sauciness - no wonder Daniel and Mark are fighting to get into her control-top knickers.
Admittedly there are moments when her more embarrassing gaffes make you cringe, yet the character is in a sense the victim of her own success; it's easy to forget that, as much as she is an icon of modern womanhood, she is also a satirical, albeit deeply affectionate, take on that same creature. Large tracts of the diary - and no doubt many readers' "best bits" - have, by necessity, been omitted. Moreover, Bridget's wonderful "urban family", Tom (James Callis), Jude (Shirley Henderson) and Shazzer, are greatly underused, and a sub-plot featuring Bridget's parents' troubled marriage seems truncated.
But these are minor quibbles, and with at least one laugh-out loud moment every five minutes, several stand-out scenes (Geoffrey and Una's tarts 'n' vicars party and Daniel's boating accident, to name but two), a swooningly romantic denouement and the sort of top-class support that you only seem to get in British comedies, what you have is an above-average chick-flick that even blokes will tolerate (cf. Renée's bunny outfit). V.g., as Bridget might say.
Resoundingly yes. Sometimes uneven, and a tad short, this is nevertheless one of the most genuinely funny romances for some time. With Grant, Firth and Zellweger on sparkling form, this will be the next big Brit hit.