Well, thank goodness they did a total rewrite and didn’t try to use the most recent Bridget Jones book, Mad About the Boy, as the basis for this film. This is a book spoiler alert – in the book, Mark Darcy is dead and Bridget is raising their kids alone and is (as always) desperate for a man. It was a good book, but oh so sad! Thank goodness Helen Fielding was on board for creating a whole new story.
Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is single again, having broken up with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) a few years previous, and he found someone else and married. She’s a successful news producer, although still makes typical “Oh, Bridget” mistakes. That would get most people fired on the spot. Suspend that disbelief. She goes off to a weekend camping festival with news presenter and mate Miranda (Sarah Solemani) and bumps into the very hot Jack (Patrick Dempsey) and they have a good old shag. A week later at one of her mate’s kid’s christening (which for some reason is as big a party as a wedding, these people are insanely rich) she bumps into Mark who reveals he is getting divorced and they have a good old shag. Three months later, Bridget finds out she is pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is. She tells them both and the rest of the film is competition win Bridget over.
It’s great – if you love Bridget Jones and this type of film. All of the old cast are back – Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson and then get great surprises like Emma Thompson as the fabulous obstetrician and Neil Pearson as one of Bridget’s colleagues. There is the issue of being all about a woman needing a man to fulfil her, which was always the goal of Bridget and always felt to me a bit disempowering for women. However what works here is that Bridget is successful in her career already and has a fabulous flat and great friends. She doesn’t desperately seek the handsome American as probably would have happened in earlier episodes – in fact, only tracking him down when she needed some info about paternity. My favourite moment was that, even though she loves Mark Darcy and clearly they get along well and love each other, she pushes him away because he is a workaholic. She doesn’t blame him, but just clearly states it didn’t work for her for the ten or so years that they were together and she’s not prepared to go back there. Go Bridget!
Astrid (Alison Lohman) is left to a series of foster homes after her mother, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), a passionate and crazy artist, is incarcerated for murder. Her young mind is moulded by a series of women who enter her life, non of whom have her best interests in mind.
It’s a very good film, depicting the way a teenager can be influenced and torn apart by a personality, and it is a tough and unfair journey. In many ways, it felt that it had a heightened sense of reality that jarred, but overall I liked it. Although it is one of those films that I think saying that I ‘liked’ it is not the best word. Appreciated is perhaps better.
For me, the film sequel worked a lot better than the book sequel. Especially the whole Thai prison scene – it actually made a lot more sense that she was in that position than in the book. Well, let’s have a quick summary.
Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) has her man; Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). But she suspects him of having an affair, and after appalling counsel from her so-called-friends and a lack of communication between Bridget and Mark, they split. Then her job is changed so that she needs to travel with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) to Thailand to record a travel show. Shazza (Sally Phillips) comes with her, but then she is tricked into carrying an item back for the man Shazza has been shagging, and it turns out it is full of drugs. Bridget ends up in jail, only to be rescued once again by Mark Darcy.
It’s not the most awesome. But it’s not the worst. The one thing that drove me insane was the group of friends that Bridget relies on. Even with my fav Jessica Stevenson, they still drove me nuts. That and I know that Mark Darcy is supposed to me a bit emotionally idiotic, but surely he could have done something more about the whole situation.
Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) is a single thirty-something living in London, desperate to lose weight, stop smoking, reduce her drinking and to find the man of her dreams. But between her friends and family, it seems unlikely that she will make good choices or stick by them. Will she stay with the charming but unreliable Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) or go with the sometimes charming but mostly socially awkward but reliable Mark Darcy (Colin Firth)?
Having recently read the book, I felt this was a darned good interpretation. Renee Zellweger was perfect for Bridget Jones; in fact, all of the casting was perfect. It was a shame to lose Bridget’s love for Colin Firth, though as he was playing Mark Darcy, there was really no way to make this work. Any changes from the book worked well, apart, possibly, from some of the stuff with the three best friends. Personally, I’m quite a fan of all three (Shirley Henderson, Sally Phillips and James Callis) as actors, but found the sycophantic nature of the characters in this flick very annoying. Though I am completely aware that the plot would not have worked had they been much different.
Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) wants to be on the stage, but is in a tedious life married to a boring mechanic, Amos (John C Reilly). When she discovers the man she is having an affair with is not only unable to get her an audition, but is going to leave her, she shoots him and is quickly arrested for murder. She joins Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a famous singer and dancer who killed her husband and sister after she caught them in bed together. The two use Mama Morton (Queen Latifah) to obtain the legal services of Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) to set them free. And all this whilst singing and dancing.
I have no idea if this is a good film or not. It certainly is a very interesting interpretation of a stage show to film, with it flowing from cabaret performances in a club to scenes of reality. What I know is the music is fabulous. The other thing is that we did Chicago as a high-school performance long before the recent stage (and then film) revival and I still know pretty much every word of every song. It was just as well that there was no one home at my place and my neighbours were away, because I watched the film singing at the top of my lungs. And no one needs to hear that.
Chicago won Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound. Chicago was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Renee Zellweger), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (John C. Reilly), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Queen Latifah), Best Director (Rob Marshall), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Bill Condon), Best Cinematography and Best Music, Original Song (I Move On).