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Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Review

By Shawn McKenzie 11/12/2004

When Bridget Jones’s Diary came out in 2001, there were many fans of the Helen Fielding novel who were mad that they had cast American actress Renée Zellweger to play the title role.  They thought that she couldn’t possibly play the character because she wasn’t British, and Bridget Jones was a beloved literary character in their minds.  Zellweger managed not to only prove them wrong, but she was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for her efforts (though she lost out to Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball.)  Her performance was so convincing that fans of the book ended loving the movie as well.  They began pushing for Zellweger to return in the follow-up, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.  The actress was reluctant at first, not really wanting to pack on the 30 pounds she had gained for the first movie, but she agreed to pack them on again because she approved of the latest rewrite penned by Richard Curtis.  Once that was established, her co-stars, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, agreed to be in the movie as well.  Well…as a fan of the first movie (I’ve never read either of the novels), I’m glad to join the bandwagon in welcoming Bridget, though I wish this second movie was as good as the first.

When we left our heroine Bridget Jones (Zellweger), she had been enjoying life with the perfect man and the perfect job.  She is happily delirious now in her first stable relationship with human rights lawyer Mark Darcy (Firth), with whom she is within her first six weeks (or as she puts it, “71 excellent shags”) of.  She is also happy with her reporting job working on “Stand up, Britain” for her news director boss Richard Finch (Neil Pearson), though she still manages to get some silly assignments, like skydiving into a pig pen.  She’s even happy for her parents, Colin (Jim Broadbent) and Pam Jones (Gemma Jones), though she could probably due without her mum’s best friend Una Alconbury (Celia Imre) and her perverted Uncle Geoffrey (James Faulkner.)  It is funny then that, despite them originally cheering her on, Bridget’s friends Jude (Shirley Henderson), Shazzer (Sally Phillips), Bridget’s smug married friend Magda (Jessica Stevenson), and her gay friend Tom (James Callis) try to talk Bridget into breaking up with Mark now.  Their reasons might be that Mark has an attractive assistant named Rebecca Gilles (Jacinda Barrett) that he has been spending a lot of time with.  Brought on by a spiteful woman that she knows named Janey Osbourne (Lucy Robinson), Bridget tries to confirm Mark’s true intentions in an embarrassing scene where she spies on Mark and Rebecca looking like they were being intimate.  One awkward scene follows another, from a trivia game at Mark’s lawyer supper to her attempt to ski with Mark, Rebecca, and Mark’s colleague Giles Benwick (David Verrey), that it leads her to question their relationship.  After having tea with Mark’s parents, Admiral and Mrs. Darcy (Donald Douglas and Shirley Dixon), the question of marriage comes up, and Bridget breaks up with Mark, thinking that he couldn’t love her or fight for her because she has caused him too much embarrassment.  After they break up, temptation comes back.  Daniel Cleaver (Grant), her boss from her old job at the book publishing company, comes back into her life as a colleague now working with her at the news station.  Richard assigns Bridget and Daniel to go to Bangkok, Thailand to report about the local culture.  Bridget brings along Shazzer, who meets a good-looking guy named Jed (Paul Nicholls) on the plane.  In a funny scene on a beach in Thailand, Jed introduces her to mushrooms, and Daniel has to rescue her.  That rendezvous doesn’t go as planned, and as Bridget boards a plane to take her back to London, she is busted carrying a gift that Jed had bought for Shazzer filled with cocaine.  Her embassy-appointed lawyer, Charlie Parker-Knowles (Jason Watkins), tells her that she could get 10 years or more in jail, causing her panic.  Will our plucky Bridget get out of jail, and will she run back to the scoundrel Daniel or her Sex God and the love of her life Mark?  That is something that we will have to read at the end of her diary.

I found this movie very comical, though it was a little predictable.  I’m not spoiling anything when I think that audiences will know that Bridget finds love in the end, and I don’t think that they will care either because they love her so much.  It was amusing to see Bridget being goofy, and the writing was funny.  I especially cracked up during the scene where Bridget talks to Mark on the phone and she thanks him for a wonderful night of shagging and that he has a nice bottom, all the while he has been on speakerphone with a roomful of clients (I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer a few times yourself.)  I wasn’t quite as cracked up during the second (and third) times she does the same joke, but it was still funny (my cousin who watched the movie with me even predicted that she would do the same joke during the third time Bridget embarrasses herself in front of a room of lawyers.)

Some people may think that Grant was underused, but I thought that he was used the appropriate amount.  Anything more would have just been filler just to give him more screen time.  It would have nice to see more of Bridget’s parents though, played by Broadbent and Jones.

Bridget still smokes, is unlucky in love (except in the beginning and end of the movie), and is still a little overweight (though I think that Zellweger actually looks healthy with a few extra pounds), but Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is still a pleasing movie, if only for the fans of the first one.  I will say that I was even surprised that my previously mentioned cousin enjoyed it as well, despite having never seen the first movie or read the books.  She even believed that Zellweger was a real British woman, and that is a huge compliment to the talents of the actress herself.  Despite a bad scene that I didn’t like in which her cellmates in the Bangkok jail sing Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” director Beeban Kidron has helmed a humorous follow-up, even if it was just a little more of the same.  I doubt that it will get any Oscar kudos, but I liked it, and so will the fans.

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