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Bridget Jones's Diary: Collector's Edition

Of course Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) is a chick-flick — after all, it features Hugh Grant, and guys don't necessarily throw one of his films in the DVD player after Sunday football. But despite being aimed smack-dab in the middle of the thirtysomething female demographic, Bridget Jones manages to avoid the many pitfalls of its genre, creating a smart, funny story about being female, single, and unsatisfied. Renée Zellweger starts as the titular character, an assistant in a London publishing firm who realizes that, being 32 and overweight, if she doesn't do something about the circumstances of her life she will die alone and be "eaten by dogs." Starting a diary to keep track of her weight and other vices (such as cutting down on the smoking and drinking), the volume soon chronicles her love-life. After failing to hit things off with successful barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), despite her mother's best efforts, Bridget starts up a flirtation with her caddish boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). The relationship is intense, but suddenly turns sour when she discovers his engagement to a leggy executive (whom Bridget describes as an "American stick-insect"). Heartbroken, our heroine once again turns her attention to exercise, self-improvement, and career, but the handsome Mark — who shunned her previously — crosses her path again with overtures of romance. Based on the popular novel by Helen Fielding (which itself is loosely taken from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice), Bridget Jones's Diary was a box-office success in North America and its native Britain, and served as a career-booster for Zellweger, who famously gained 20 pounds and a convincing English accent for the part. She's an appealing lead, but what makes Bridget Jones even more inviting is its approach to the romance film. Certainly, every year sees more and more boy-meets-girl yarns churned out of Hollywood, but where so many are idealized, Bridget Jones celebrates imperfection — and not merely Bridget's perceived physical imperfections, but her social awkwardness. She has a bad habit of speaking before she thinks, and often winds up in horribly embarrassing situations (working on a TV news story, she slides down a firepole and exposes her ample bum to the British nation; invited to a "tarts and vicars" costume party, she arrives as a Playboy bunny only to learn the costumes have been canceled). Turn on Notting Hill if you want to see Julia Roberts and her megawatt smile; Bridget Jones's Diary is a love story — but with an imperfect heroine and the ambiguous men she dates, it casts a wider net. Buena Vista's second DVD release of the title, now badged as a "Collector's Edition," offers the same anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Supplements returning from the original release include a commentary with director Sharon Maguire, a behind-the-scenes featurette (9 min.), original "Bridget Jones's Diary" columns, and seven deleted scenes. New on this edition are the featurettes "The Young and the Mateless: An Expert's Guide to Being Single" (7 min.), "The Bridget Phenomenon" (6 min.), "Portrait of the Makeup Artist" (5 min.), and "A Guide to British Briticisms" (2 min.). Two music videos from the first DVD have been deleted, while also new here are domestic and international TV spots, five movie reviews, and a trailer for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Keep-case with paperboard slipcover.
—JJB



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