Director: Beeban Kidron
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jacinda Barrett, Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson, James Callis, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent
Plot: Bridget Jones (Zellweger) has a great job, amazing boyfriend and a stable life. But will her own anxieties ruin it for her?
The essence of Bridget Jones’ Diary is to be that unashamed chick-flick that doesn’t just embrace the stereotypes and cliché of the genre, but envelops its entire screenplay in them. This is the film-making equivalent of deep fat frying – the entire film is coated in the trademarks of the genre, assuming that that is the main draw for the audience. Hell, it worked for the first film, so why not give it another go.
Bridget Jones’ Diary: The Edge of Reason is meant to be pure female fantasy. The script feels like it is attempting to play on the parts in the back of the female mind that are associated with both dreams and anxieties. Hence, the story sees Bridget live out both the best-case scenarios and the worst-case scenarios of life. The idea of an odd duck landing the perfect man is something that most of the female audiences can get wrapped up in. As Colin Firth seemingly remains impervious to all of Renee Zellweger’s social faux-pas and cock ups, it seems that she can do no wrong, even if she appears intent on doing just that. Then, when Hugh Grant’s womanising rascal, Daniel Cleaver, comes back on the scene, he is totally smitten over Bridget all over again. As these two handsome hunks bicker over who deserves Bridget’s heart, a lot of women must be wishing that they were in a similar situation. At the same time, the script makes sure that Bridget goes through some terrible situations as well. Every time she wanders into a scenario, she seems to mess it up in the worst possible way. In many ways, it is predictable, as you can easily jump to the conclusion of what might happen, by assuming the worst outcome of any given situation. Bridget goes through airport security – of course, she ends up in prison. Bridget tries to catch Colin Firth in the act of having an affair, only to walk in on his perfectly innocent, but dreadful essential work meeting. It is the not-so-subtle mix of both realities, which appeals to the audiences of this franchise. Throw in a soundtrack teeming with popular songs from the era and some fantastic gags and you look like you are onto a winner.
But Edge of Reason just isn’t up to the same levels as the wildly successful first movie. Perhaps the biggest problem is that it is too hung up on repeating the past. Sharon MacGuire has actually written a novel detailing a sequel that director Beeban Kidron borrows from, but never embraces. It is definitely a film inspired by the last entry in the franchise, rather than the source material that made the first film so appealing. Therefore, new gags included in the book are forgone for things we have already seen. Grant and Firth have another childish fight scene. The underwear gag is brought up again. As refreshing as Hugh Grant’s return is, his character almost repeats his role in the last entry blow by blow. Poor Colin Firth is given so little to do other than fawn after Bridget, that the actor was probably going mad at not having anything meaty to sink his teeth into. About halfway through the film, you realise that Edge of Reason has nothing new going for it and you begin to lose faith. It is bearable enough, even if it never meets the standards set before. There is a good segment when Bridget gets fashion advice from a cab driver (and the punchline when she gets to her venue is a solid one), and Zellweger is usually charming enough to keep most scenes ticking over. The highlight of the film probably sees her in a holding cell in Thailand, getting her fellow inmates involved in an exuberant Madonna karaoke session. It hits the feel-good factor more often than not. But it feels like it is on autopilot, a light dessert for customers still craving a little more after watching the first film. However, if you were to pick one of the two to watch right now, Edge of Reason wouldn’t even get a look in.
Final Verdict: Bridget Jones 2 is nowhere near as original or as witty as the film that came before it, copying most of the best jokes and not telling them anywhere near as good.