The pages of the first edition of Bridget Jones's Diary were already yellowed by the time we finally cracked open a copy. There had been too much hype at first surrounding this piece of literary fluff about a sometimes ballsy, mostly insecure single gal who hates her job, her body and her goofy parents and isn't afraid to admit she just wants a boyfriend. We had to wait until, you know, we could buy a copy without feeling the bad kind of dirty. We finished it in days--not heady stuff, really, just fun--and became loyal enough to the Singleton gal that, as talk of a movie version began, we dreaded the thought of Renée Zellwegger playing our weight-obsessed, boy-crazy thirtyish comadre. Bridget would never say, "You had me at 'Hello.'" Maybe, "You had me at 'Here's a box of chocolates, a carton of ciggies and a bottle of vodka. How 'bout a shag?'" Maybe. As somebody said at the time: At least it wasn't Meg Ryan.
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But, when the movie version of Helen Fielding's hit novel was released in April, fans were pleased. The author had collaborated on the screenplay with Brit com stalwarts Richard Curtis and Andrew Davies. Zellwegger had gained 20 pounds, dropping her annoyingly cute factor a few notches. Gone were the book's almost daily tabulations of Bridget's weight (and excuses for gain or loss), cigarettes smoked, alcohol units consumed and calories eaten. Her friends Jude and Sharon got shoved to the peripherals as well, making the movie Bridget Jones's Diary less Celibate in the City than the book. Here, the boys take center stage. Playing the scoundrel Daniel Cleaver, Bridget's philandering boss, is the cast-against-type Hugh Grant, channeling, no doubt, whatever force compelled him to pick up a prostitute. And Colin Firth portrays Mark Darcy, the rich, divorced lawyer who's essentially an updated version of Pride and Prejudice's Mr. Darcy, Firth's best known role and Fielding's inspiration for Bridget's successful suitor. The resulting movie is like a "best of Bridget" with all the romance, small triumphs and major embarrassments that made us love her. And, as Bridget would say, that's v. v. good.