The best thing about this movie is author Salman Rushdie.

British publishing flack Bridget Jones, played by Rene Zellweger, has to give a speech at an important promotion for a new, pretentious book, marketed as ?the greatest novel of our time.?

Right after introducing the book as such, Bridget realizes that the room is full of prominent contemporary authors who don?t look happy?including the actual Rushdie and Jeffrey Archer.

So she says, ?Except for yours, Mr. Rushdie, whose books are … also very good.? After placating every angry literary face in the crowd, Bridget amends her original statement, calling it ?one of the best 30 novels of our time.?

But beyond this charming cameo, ?Bridget Jones?s Diary? is mostly 90 minutes of silliness. Carried by an often intelligent and witty script based on the book by Helen Fielding, the movie comes close to being more original than every other stupid romantic comedy, but in the end, it can?t quite scrape it together.

Bridget Jones is an outspoken, binge-drinking, binge-eating 32-year-old whose quest in life is to become un-single. As she attempts to do this, she becomes entangled with dashing chaps Daniel Cleaver, played by Hugh Grant, and Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth. Bridget must figure out which one is her soulmate and which one is a lecherous, non-committing creephead.

Bridget is supposed to be fat in this movie, but it?s unclear whether the producers think they accomplished this goal by making her look like she just had her wisdom teeth out. Zellweger?s puffy cheeks don?t really accomplish this illusion ? they just look odd compared to her thin body.

But Zellweger plays the role just as it should be played. You end up liking the girl who?s got incontinence of the mouth and spends her time deciding between the slimming control top panties or the hotter black thong.

Her not-quite-British accent is forgiveable ? she gave it the old college try.

And the fellows are really quite attractive. Grant ? whom I wouldn?t normally bother drooling over ? plays a rakish, literary butt-squeezer with agility, while Firth steps into the role of aristocratic ber-geek, controlled by his dominatrix of a girlfriend.

The movie is incredibly unrealistic in parts. The two men get in a fight and go flying through the glass plate window of a swanky French restaurant.

Mark, the attorney defending a prominent human rights case, gets Bridget, now working as a truly horrible TV anchorwoman, an exclusive interview with the defendants. Every journalist can tell you that this would never happen, except in their wet dreams.

But somehow, it?s not totally stupid. It works because the movie is so improbable that you know it?s not meant to be real. It runs the gamut from inane to surprisingly high-brow. Just don?t expect too much of an intellectual challenge.

If you?re looking for a cute film you?ll like it, especially if you?re dying to see Zellweger run around in the snow in leopard-print underwear.



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