Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
It is always a pretty safe bet in the movies that a sequel will not be as
good as the first of the series. Sadly, Bridget Jones: The Edge of
Reason is further proof of this rule. Not that the second film is
horrible, it is just a step backwards for the series. The original Bridget
Jones's Diary was a very good film that occasionally flirted with
greatness. This second film is just fairly good, with occasional
moments of pretty good.
is a shame, because film is well cast and acted. It is co-written by
some very talented people. It does have some funny moments. Yet,
it never quite jells as well as fans would hope.
biggest gaffe here is in the character of Bridget. Not that it is
Zellweger's fault – she still plays the role with a wonderful mixture of
charm and vulnerability. Sadly, the material lets the actress and the
with this whole movie is that
Bridget is happy. She has a glamour job. She's in love with her
dream guy. Unfortunately, what makes Bridget so lovable as a
single woman also makes her insufferable as a girlfriend; she's clingy,
needy, jealous, obsessively unsure of herself and constantly taking her
friends' advice over her own.
Mark Barrister Darcy (Colin Firth) still
seems an odd choice for Bridget – he's so uptight
and guarded that he seems the antithesis of Bridget's open flightiness.
Still, he seems to be
doing everything in his power to make his relationship work, although with
his withdrawn demeanor that tends to fly right over Bridget's head. He
strives to be the perfect boyfriend. In fact, all
of the problems that he and Bridget have appear to be completely in her
over-active imagination. And, frankly, Mark
has the patience of a saint to put up with Bridget and her moods.
bounding cad of an ex-boss/ex-lover Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) is a much more interesting
character, even if he makes a worse boyfriend. Daniel is a suave,
charming, unashamedly shallow man who only lives for his next conquest.
You can understand why Bridget can't help but fall for his rap, even though
she knows it is wrong for her and it is a symbolic slap in the face to Mark.
problem is that the filmmakers seem to have forgotten what made Diary
so enjoyable. The change in direction the movie has taken is a subtle
shift, but it is a significant one. In the first film, Bridget was
overcoming a barrage of humiliations; being a single woman in her thirties,
going to a party that she thought was a costume bash which turned out not to
be, dating a cad who was cheating on her, showing her knickers during her
first big chance to be on television.
Bridget was forever trying survive these indignities with her pride intact,
which she usually was able to do. Because of her never-say-die
spunkiness Bridget spoke to the underdog in the audience, and we appreciated
how she was able to move forward and better herself, eventually finding the
perfect job and her ideal man.
Edge of Reason, however, it seems that Bridget is only seen as an object
of ridicule. The constant barrage of humiliation seems more
mean-spirited than the first film, which is somewhat odd, because it was
written by most of the same writers and based on the second novel of the
series by novelist Helen Fielding. Instead of being a smart and funny
career woman who was looking for love, but not defined by it, Bridget seems
more desperate, more incompetent and less sympathetic.
the opening sequence, Bridget is forced on assignment to sky dive for her TV
show and she ends up landing in a pen surrounded by pigs and as she puts it,
"excrement." For the rest of the movie, that scene is figuratively
replayed over and over. Jones falls off a roof into a shrubbery.
She is thrown into a Thai jail because she did a friend a favor. She
accuses a lesbian of having an affair with her boyfriend. She is
forced to declare her love in front of a boardroom full of foreign
dignitaries when the two could have easily left the room for a little
privacy. In the most important moment of her life, when she feels she
has to look her very best, she is soaked when she is splashed by passing
cars. Not once, but twice.
germ of a good movie is here and the acting is stunning – Zellweger, Firth
and particularly Grant know these characters and love them and are able to
bring them to vibrant life. (Okay, maybe using the word vibrant to
describe Mark Darcy is a stretch, but that's about his character, not
Firth's acting.) It is nice to revisit these people who we grew to
care about so much in the original film three years ago. I just wish
they were given more interesting, realistic things to do.
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Posted: March 19, 2005.