Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Sequel relies on slapstick, but reminds us why we fell in love with this mess of a girl
By Devin D. O'Leary
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Directed by Beeban Kidron
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant
The smash hit nature of Bridget Jones' Diary, both in original book and eventual movie form, inevitably led to the release of author Helen Fielding's much-anticipated sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The success of that followup book has brought us, inexorably, to the filming of another movie.
Picking up right where Bridget Jones' Diary left off, The Edge of Reason finds us back in the thirtysomething dating world of slapstick “singleton” Bridget Jones (again thesped by not-British-but-trying-hard Renée Zellweger). Seems Bridget is doing rather well for herself this time around. Despite her usual lack of self-esteem and her long list of bad habits, Bridget is still dating the seemingly perfect Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and is even achieving some measure of success as a “serious journalist” on a morning chat show. It isn't long, though, before Bridget's brain gets the better (worse?) of her, and she starts to have serious doubts. Are TV executives merely exploiting her “everygirl” buffoonery? Is Mark Darcy about to dump her for that brilliant and exquisitely skinny gal at his law firm?
Of course, our gal mucks it all up, dumping Darcy for all the wrong reasons and (even worse) agreeing to host a TV travel show with her devilish former crush Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant, trying on a more interesting bad boy persona than his usual bumbling good guy roles allow).
The script this time around is as sweet and occasionally as misshapen as a marshmallow. The uneven narrative takes a few odd twists and turns--some of which are funny, others of which merely fall flat. Stranding Bridget in a Thai prison, for example, is a pretty odd tonal shift. Sequences like a ski holiday in Germany seem like so much padding. Later on, the subplot involving Mark's sexy co-worker is wrapped up in a ridiculously convenient manner. Still, the core of the narrative is simple, predictable, enjoyable: just like you would expect from a Hollywood-by-way-of-London romantic comedy.
Zellweger is the central attraction, doing fine work in a very endearing part. There's something very brave in seeing an actress throw herself into a role that requires her to pack on a few bad pounds, perform assorted humiliating acts of slapstick and generally look like a complete fool. There's a little less for her to do this time around and she's often left falling into puddles, mudbogs or snowbanks for the sake of comic relief. Still, it's nice to have Bridget and her pals back.
The inevitable romantic battle between Firth and Grant takes a long time to heat up, but the resulting (and ridiculous) fisticuffs are worth the wait. In the end, the romance pays off handsomely, making this a sure-fire crowdpleaser despite its flaws. Like Bridget and her addictive cigarettes, The Edge of Reason probably isn't good for you, but it's awfully hard to resist.
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