Dear Diary: After long months of mostly lousy movies, finally saw one that was a hoot from start to finish. It's a trifle, and women may get a bigger kick out of it than men, but what's wrong with that? Bruce Willis will still have a career.
Bridget Jones's Diary, a romantic comedy, is a faithful adaptation of British author Helen Fielding's highly amusing novel in diary form about the inimitable Ms. Jones (Zellweger), a 32-year-old self-described "singleton" who toils as a publicist for a London publishing house. Admirers of the book, released here in 1998, will be pleased to learn that the movie preserves Jones's acerbic voice by lifting diary entries and using them as voice-overs. This means we know exactly what Jones thinks as she struggles to lose 20 lbs., attempts to cut back on her copious drinking and smoking and wavers between two potential suitors. The first is the frosty, badly dressed Mark Darcy (Firth), whose last name should tip off fans of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, from which Bridget Jones draws its inspiration, that this man is worthy of consideration. The more dashing alternative is Daniel Cleaver (Grant), Jones's devastatingly attractive but promiscuous boss.
Zellweger, who continues to impress as a contemporary incarnation of Doris Day, more than holds her own with her leading men, both of whom glow, and a strong supporting cast. (R)
Bottom Line: Jolly good show