Cover Art and Menu: 9/10
Making the cover into the cover of her diary is an obvious but welcome design choice. This movie is dear to so many people (even if they are annoying hipsters and hopeless pretentious victims of the metropolitan singles’ scene) so it’s only fitting they gave the DVD some personality. The menus are more of a study in artsy girly swirls and textures. They are a bit disappointing and quite boring really. I understand the concept, that sort of groovy effect you might find on a greeting card or an abstract bathroom wallpaper. I’m not saying I don’t like it, but when you have seen the cover in all it’s semi-cleverness, the menus are a bit of a let down.
Extras & Features: 7/10
The Bridget Phenomenon – Besides a few details from the author about how the story came to be (which is very interesting to me), this is just 30 minutes of borderline annoying women talking about how they identify with Bridget and a few interviews with cast and crew. I would have to say the only women in this whole thing who are tolerable are the author Helen Fielding and Zellweger. Fielding explains that Bridget is an exaggeration of the hapless 30 year old woman looking for love, and that she is not meant to be anything other than that, especially a symbol for other women to cling to. Everyone else in these interviews seem like they read too much Cosmo and watch too much Opera. Hey I’m a woman, yes, but sometimes you need to give the hormones a rest ladies.
- The Young & The Mateless – The annoying women are back. I have to say it’s rather hard to sit through these extras for a couple of reasons. First because I have no tolerance for this whole “single woman in her thirties” syndrome that seems to push women to wax every hair on their body, take diet pills, bleach their hair, line their lips and whine about how hard it is to find a good man. That is essentially what these little bits are about, how Bridget represents them in their struggle to find the perfect man and/or cope with being single…which seems kind of cruel to such an endearing character. The second reason it’s annoying is because it shows a lot of scenes from the new Bridget movie, which I do not want to see because it gives away too much too soon. I mean, I want to see the new movie, but not bits and pieces about it now, before I even get to the theater to see it.
- Portrait Of The Makeup Artist – This is one big commercial for buying make up, and I’m not into make up. We are treated with the make-up artist from the movie, an interesting enough guy, demonstrating the correct methods for applying the Bridget Jones’s look to your very own face. You can imagine that I might not be very fond of this little extra for several reason, uninteresting, boring, girly, etc. I appreciate the idea, that hopeless single women in their 30’s are struggling to find men (which is absurd) so a few make up tips will make it all better. However, I don’t think it makes a very good extra for the rest of us. Again, too much Cosmo, not enough real life!
- Domestic & International TV Spots – Trailers
- The Edge Of Reason Theatrical Trailer – Trailer
- A Guide To Bridget Britishisms – Translation of purely BRITISH, not Bridget original phrases. I’m married to a Brit so I was well aware of all those subtle colloquialisms way before Bridget came along. They did present this extra in quite an amusing way, with clips from the movie and translations that don’t take the kid friendly way out…they say it like it is. If you are thinking of talking like this to be cool, on behalf of all British Americans..and British British..PLEASE DON’T. You will seem like a serious wanker (jerk).
- Feature Commentary With The Director – I do love this movie, so watching it with commentary just makes it better. I enjoy hearing about how films get made and I especially like to hear the director talk about how and why he/she made the choices they did in each scene. I would say everyone involved in this production got a little too wrapped up in the whole “Bridget is a symbol of all women” thing though, which gets old after a while.
- Behind The Scenes Featurette – This is a collection of interviews and clips from behind the scenes (obviously). The making of a movie like Bridget doesn’t have a lot to offer beyond stars messing up, make-up being applied, and lots of crew running around trying to set up each shot.
- Deleted Scenes – These deleted scenes actually would have changed the tone of the movie a lot if they had been left in. Daniel, the shit of a boss, pursues Bridget a lot more in these scenes and so makes it seem as though his intentions are more solid than just wanting a little fling with the office girl. There are a couple of scenes that high light Bridget’s paranoia about her weight, and that emphasize a slightly more air headed side of her than we see in the final cut.
- Over 1000 Original Bridget Jones’s Diary Columns – If you like to read, a lot, you will love to browse through the 1000 columns by Helen Fielding. These are the original writings that eventually became the book that became the movie so if you are in looking for more Bridget Jones charm, wit and life experiences, this is one set of extras I would highly recommend.
The Movie: 8/10:
I was single for a long time and never once did I have a handsome sexy boss lusting after me, and my flabby thighs were never as nice as Bridget’s. Not to mention I didn’t get a cool job on TV, and last but not least I never had the nerve to buy or even think of wearing a thong….so she and I don’t have that much in common after all. Other than that I do appreciate her sense of being lost in a maze of loneliness and singledom. The thing is, the people (obnoxious women) who have attached themselves so dearly to the character of Bridget Jones are not the lumpy, frumpy types at all. These are women who most likely look at Bridget and think to themselves, “oh thank God I’m not THAT fat” or “My hair is better than hers” or whatever else snotty women say about the rest of us. They claim to identify with her, but they don’t really. She’s a notch below them so they can feel better about themselves by watching her on screen with her big underpants, sort-of chunky thighs, interesting fashion choices. Oh, I’m not reviewing the movie here am I? Sorry, I just have a few problems with the whole Bridget phenom. It distracts from what a fun charming movie this really is.
Ok, on to the review.
I appreciate the writing, the dialogue, the story, all that, but what makes this movie so watchable is Renee Zellweger. She steals the show from scene to scene with whatever it is she’s got that gives her that watchable factor. I’m not sure if it’s her pout, her awkwardness, or if it’s her ability and willingness to just let it all go. She does things in this movie that most actresses wouldn’t dare do on film. She let’s us see her in granny panties. We get a very close up shot of her back side sliding down a pole. Come to think of it, we see a lot of her backside throughout the movie. She’s not covered with make-up and her hair is rarely “done” to any certain women’s magazine standard. That I appreciate more than anything.
As I said, I like the story. I mean, what thirty something year old women wouldn’t. She’s not body perfect, she’s not ambitious or motivated, she can’t cook, and she doesn’t have a way with words. She’s me, only cuter dammit! The writing is mostly from the heart, but has that tone of Hollywood patronizing garble to it at times. I know that once some producer got their hands on the book and wanted to make a movie, they just had to make Bridget that much more endearing and that much less realistic. Everyone in the movie is an exaggeration of people we might know, not the realistic versions. I love my friends dearly, but we have never been quite so glued together as Bridget and her friends seem to be. They never gave me so much advice and I never asked. We don’t huddle together as if it’s us against the world and talk in one liners from magazines and talk shows. But that’s what makes people THINK they identify with these characters, the illusion of being ‘real’ just because they want life to be so colorful and trendy.
I’m not knocking the movie. I’m just a bit frustrated with this whole thing about how real this story and the characters are, they aren’t. They are fun Hollywood caricatures of people wish we knew. As far as the story goes, these people are wonderful characters who live in their world one step away from real reality. Let’s leave it at that and not claim they remind us of people we all know, because we don’t.
Zellweger is the undeniable star of this show, that’s for sure, but everyone does a great job of hamming it up. They had good dialogue to work with and a lot of room for comedic digs at we humans in the dating game. I have to say that from scene to scene there isn’t one line or bit of conversation between characters that doesn’t seem just right for the moment. That’s rare in a movie with so much riding on interactions between the people in the story. We aren’t dealing with a special effects movie here folks, no tricks or frills to distract you from the writing, but that’s ok it’s all good to begin with.
Overall this is just a fun, laugh out loud story about a women looking for love. She’s not my role model, but hey, if women need to cling to a character from a newspaper column to define who they are, who am I go judge.
With a few extras, no matter how indulgent and pretentious they might be, and a classic romantic comedy to have on your shelf for those days when you need a laugh, $13.00 ain’t bad. It’s good to see such a reasonable price on such a collectible DVD. It’s worth this modest few dollars to have that one friend in your life who’s had as hard a time finding love as you have.
Overall Score 8/10