Friday, March 25, 2005

Comedic License?

I loved "Bridget Jones's Diary." The book and the movie. My friend Marlea loaned me the book, and I couldn't stop laughing. I remember lying in bed one night, long-ago boyfriend at my side for the evening (oh, stop it -- we were *reading*) and I was prone to fits of giggling until I turned out the light.

"What are you reading?" he wanted to know.

I told him, but no man could appreciate that book. Only women -- every woman, yes, even Paris Hilton, if she's honest -- can relate to that book.

So when I heard they were making the movie version, I was thrilled. When I heard Renee Zellweger was cast as Bridget, I was not.

But she pulled it off, didn't she? An Oscar nomination for Best Actress, even.

I saw the movie. I bought the DVD. It's sweet. It's charming. It also stars Colin Firth. Any woman who tells you she doesn't find Colin Firth the leading example of male perfection is lying.

So successful was the first film based on the first book that a sequel was planned.

Except one of the main storylines in the second book is Bridg getting tossed into a Thai prison.

Having worked with a man who's daughter really was in a prison in Thailand for being duped into transporting drugs, I wondered how that could ever factor into a lighthearted movie. But then, I also wondered how Colin Firth, who's a character in the second book, could be included in the second movie, as Colin Firth is already busy being Mark Darcy.

Silly Beth. This is Hollywood we're talking about! Adaptation, shmadaptation. Cut the Thai prison business down to 10 minutes and set Bridget up to learn a life lesson about what really constitutes a "bad" boyfriend, and as for that Colin Firth conundrum?

Cut it out!

I didn't see the second movie until tonight. I'm glad I waited to see it on DVD, because I would have been tempted to walk out of the theater. The movie relies on all the same gags and good bits of dialogue from the first film, a crass, commercial attempt to cash in on our love affair with Bridget, the modern-day Everywoman.

But Renee does her job dutifully, managing as best she can with the script at hand. Hugh Grant is spectacular, and he and Firth share in yet another "fight" scene that's funnier than Elaine Benes dancing. And hats off to Firth for daring to date a woman who's larger -- GASP! -- than a size 6.

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