Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for language and sexual content
Running Time: 108 min.
Cast: Renee Zellwegger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jacinda Barrett, Sally Phillips, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Shirley Henderson, James Callis
Director: Beeban Kidron
Screenplay: Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding, Richard Curtis, Adam Brooks
Review published November 22, 2004
There is a reason why romantic comedies, even the most successful ones, don't usually have sequels. Usually, this is because it's hard to recreate magic twice, particularly when the culmination of a man and woman getting together is the proper ending. For the sequel, you naturally would have to have the two lovers drift apart again, and hope they come together for another happy ending, but the second time in love is just not always as sweet. If they couldn't keep it together for long the first time around, what could make us think it really will last the next time? The second happy ending, while inevitably also happy, is filled with too much doubt to satisfy as the first union, and that's only one of the things going against Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
The plot isn't much to speak of. Two months after Bridget (Zellweger, Chicago) and Mark (Firth, What A Girl Wants) get together, jealousy begins to eat her alive, and even with impending marriage and a potential baby on the way, their relationship never really evolves into anything but dysfunctional. The two lovers decide to go their own ways, but they still aren't really able to reconcile whether they are really happy without each other, despite all their troubles.
If this were the first Bridget Jones movie, there never would have been a sequel. Given that the actual first Bridget Jones movie was complete within itself, and those who enjoyed it wanted to watch it over again, and weren't really clamoring for a sequel. Unfortunately, the almighty dollar has reared its ugly head, and since author Helen Fielding wrote a sequel to her best-selling book, it followed that a second movie was inevitable.
The problem here is that the creators of this second film have taken the continued adventures of Bridget and have dissected them with the intention of following the formula that made the first film so successful. Musical interludes, embarrassing situations, love triangles, misunderstandings, and dire circumstances that constantly crop up that keep the two lovers who belong together apart -- they are all in the mix, over and over and over again.
The Edge of Reason has its share of good moments, enough to justify a viewing for those who loved the first film. However, it seems that any momentum that is gained from the sequel comes from that which started in Bridget Jones's Diary, and not on anything it is able to muster on its own. There is a lack of focus to this sequel, feeling more like a mish-mash of several different things going on in the life of Bridget, rather than a real story. The real story, of course, is of Bridget and Mark, their ups and downs, their approach to marriage and the dissolution of their partnership, and the hopes of them getting back together. However, you really wouldn't know this about 75% of the time when watching this film, and where the first film gave us characters we cared about, this one is driven by the notion that it is the situations they are in that drive the story, and not the characters themselves.
Different locales, a different director, and a different vibe, although everyone seems to be doing everything within their power to make this feel as much like the first film as possible. It doesn't, it can't, it won't and it never should. This should have been about two people who have changed by knowing each other, coming out of their relationship, even though it was short-lived, as keener, wiser people. Instead, we have the same people in this film that we had in the first one, never really knowing who or what they want, and always staying completely within their thinly defined parameters.
At the end of Bridget Jones's Diary, we liked that everyone got what they deserved -- to find love despite their imperfections. With Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, we aren't really sure what everyone deserves, but if anything, we know they may not deserve one another, as they cannot seem to maintain love due to these same imperfections. They say that in relationships, those traits in your partner which you find cute in the beginning eventually annoy you to no end. The same can be said about the difference between the effervescent original and this sputtering sequel.
-- Followed by Bridget Jones's Baby
©2004 Vince Leo