Bridget Jones's Diary
Be prepared to cringe. Bridget Jones's Diary, based on Helen Fielding's best-selling novel of the same title, is a shameful modern retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Alcohol-swilling, cigarette-sucking, klutzy 33-year-old Bridget (Renée Zellweger) can't find a boyfriend, so she starts a diary as a schedule of self-improvement that begins with the command "Lose 20 pounds." (The twiglike Zellweger gained weight for the role, but she's not exactly fat here.) Bridget is sympathetic in that she always says exactly what she thinks; problem is, she rarely says anything intelligent, being instead preoccupied with her weight and dithering over which panties to wear. Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), Bridget's sleazy boss, and uptight lawyer Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) compete for her affections, but it is difficult to figure out why they are interested in her because she's presented as such a ditz. Her only apparent goal in life is to find a man, which is, of course, what Hollywood imagines all women want and need. Whereas in Austen's book Mr. Darcy falls for outspoken Elizabeth Bennet because she is his intellectual equal, this Mr. Darcy seems to want Bridget because she is cute and not a threat to his masculinity. Perhaps single women were better off in the 19th century.