Robin CliffordSix weeks after we left our heroine happily held in the embrace of blueblood love Mark Darcy (Colin Firth, "Love Actually"), insecurities and the reappearance of caddish ex-boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant, "Love Actually") put our pleasantly plump "Bridget Jones" at "The Edge of Reason."
This limp sequel entertains for perhaps 20% of its 108 minute running time - whenever Hugh Grant is on screen and a couple of Bridget scenarios - one dealing with skis, the other with magic mushrooms and Thai prostitutes. Otherwise, screenwriter Andrew Davies ("Bridget Jones' Diary") and novel author Helen Fielding have turned Bridget (Renée Zellweger) into a clinging embarrassment and the marvelous Colin Firth's Darcy into a parental figure who swings wildly from disapproval to over indulgence. Only the sublimely snakey Grant emerges unscathed.
The film begins promisingly as Bridget relates her seventy-one ecstatic shags with the human rights lawyer who reassures her that he adores her 'wobbly bits,' but quickly descends into a series of awful missteps. Bridget's 'friends' Shazzer (sally Phillips), Tom (James Callis) and Jude (Shirley Henderson) seem intent on kiboshing her relationship, as does Bridget herself - she's become the type who calls and drops in on her lover incessantly. A new colleague of Darcy's, pretty young Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett, "Ladder 49"), is perceived as a rival and when Bridget finally pushes Darcy hard enough that he fails to once again smooth everything over, she dumps him...just in time to be given a job pairing up with Daniel Cleaver (Grant) on a television travel show. First stop - Thailand, with plenty of 'big panties' packed.
Director Beeban Kidron ("To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar") brings nothing new to Bridget's world. Physical comedy is well staged, although Bridget is, of course, framed in the most unflattering light. One bit of klutzy Zellweger that works involves an amateur trip down a competitive ski run - Bridget looks no more padded than anyone else and her bright pink suit and silly hat are actually endearing. A pantomime she performs after whooshing into a pharmacy in quest of a pregnancy kit is priceless, as is her coordination of a group of Thai prostitutes' rendition of "Like a Virgin" (multiple Madonna references throughout suggest Madge's celebrity shines brighter in her adopted homeland). Although it is yet another retread from the first film, a fight between Darcy and Cleaver is funny indeed, neither personality being exactly adept at fisticuffs.
Of course, Bridget once again prevails at film's end with yet another unlikely conquest, but this time her good fortune feels far less well earned. As the heroine's author has done her a disservice this time around, hopefully the producers will choose new screenwriters with an original screenplay for the obvious next go-round, "Bridget Jones' Wedding."
In 2001, the weight/ciggie/drinkie challenged Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) took the world by storm as she bumbled her way into romance with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and, by the end, seemed to have the perfect life in store. Now, Bridget is shagging her beau with gusto and her career is on the rise just four weeks later in “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”
The original Helen Fielding novel, as adapted to the screen by Fielding, Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis, is a bright, good-natured look at the neurotic, obsessive and lovable Bridget as she tells her story through the pages of her diary. The sequel forgoes the charm of continued ramblings by Bridget as she, daily, recounted her weight, the number of cigarettes and drinks consumed and the number of times shagged, which was usually zero,
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” takes on the issues of sustaining a relationship, balancing a career and toying with lust. But, it is all just more of the same as the heroine continues to be insecure, screwing things up and, unfortunately, not nearly as amusing as the first time around.
Renee Zellweger, again gaining weight to play the pleasingly plump Bridget, doesn’t look quite as cute this time and has a more sallow, pasty-faced appearance. Colin Firth, usually a durably likable and droll actor, has little of his earlier charm from the first film (though he fights with Hugh Grant character – again) and comes across steeped in confused ambiguity. Grant, reprising his lovably caddish Daniel Cleaver, gets mileage out of his pared down role. Others from the first film – Jim Broadbent as B’s dad and Gemma Jones as her mum are given less to do, as do the rest – fill in their places without distinction.
Techs, too, are a rehash of the original with Gemma Jackson’s production design giving the same look to the sequel. Adrian Biddle replaces Stuart Dryburgh behind the camera and things maintain a consistent look, at least. Costume, by Jany Temime, carries forth Bridget’s often-tasteless couture. Beeban Kidron”s direction is straightforward but unexciting – by-the-numbers.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” doesn’t enter a brave new world for its title character. It’s only more of the same but without the spark of originality of “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” I recommend renting the first one and, if you’re really interested in the lesser sequel, wait to rent this, too. I give it a D+.
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