Fans of the original Bridget Jones will either love its sequel, Edge of Reason, because it is a cinematic facsimile, or hate it for the very same reason — because it’s the same damn movie. If you’ve seen the first movie, there is nothing in the sequel that will surprise you; all the Bridget Jones’ characteristics remain for the second-go-round: She can’t quit smoking; she’s a few pounds overweight; she’s obsessed with Mark Darcy and her big bottom; she bungles answering machine messages; she says amusingly inappropriate things in front of strangers; and she still can’t figure out what to wear. And it would all be just a little bit tiresome if not for the fact that the appealing charm of the first movie — embodied primarily in chubby-cheeked, double-chinned Renee Zellweger — also makes periodic returns for the sequel.
Edge of Reason picks up right where the original movie left off, flipping only a page in a new year’s diary to find Bridget and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) deliriously in love. She likes his bum; he likes her wobbly bits; they’ve shagged 71 times; and she can’t stop telling everyone she runs into that her boyfriend is a human rights lawyer. But, Bridget Jones being who she is, we all know it’s only a matter of time before her pathologies, insecurities, and neuroses throw turmoil into her relationship with the mild-mannered, arrogant Darcy, whose charm from the original movie is all but played out ten minutes into the sequel. And, before long, the narrative unconvincingly wrenches the couple apart so that it can find some predictably zany, madcap way to get them back together.
As mildly-amusing as it might be, the first half of the film is mostly a one-dimensional recycling of the original film, and, perhaps, director Beeban Kidron would have been best served leaving warmed-over mediocrity alone. Instead, Bridget winds up in Thailand doing a TV travel special with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant, reprising his role as the slimy but vibrantly droll womanizer). It is there, after a brief, almost-fling with Cleaver, that the whole bloody saga culminates with Jones winding up in a Bangkok prison, which results in a ridiculous scene where she leads an impromptu group of Thai hookers in a sing along of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” From there, the movie quickly looses its grip and makes an unfortunate turn into the absurdly unfunny, as the screenwriters attempt to mine comedy out of comparing the priggish Darcy to the boyfriend of Bridget’s cellmate, who “hits on me, and makes me work on the street!” (How’s that for funny?!)
Fortunately, the movie pulls out of its tailspin with another preposterously sweet Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill) ending (don’t they all seem to involve taxi cabs?), but the damage to the film has clearly been done. Yet, what saves the movie from relative mediocrity is Zellweger, whose adorable wit somehow surfaces above the blotchy, twaddle of cheek that surrounds her smile. Edge of Reason is first and foremost a vehicle for Zellweger, and that the movie isn’t nearly as good as the original hardly matters as far as that character is concerned — Zellweger still manages to recall the hopeless charisma that made the original Bridget Jones so sodding enjoyable. The entire premise — insecure, singleton in big underwear who is constantly embarrassing herself — may have grown stale, but the plumped-up, dawdling Zellweger hasn’t. And that may be reason enough to revisit Bridget Jones.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba and managing partner of its parent company, which prefers to remain anonymous for reasons pertaining to public relations. He lives in Ithaca, New York.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason / Dustin Rowles
Film | May 13, 2006 | Comments ()