Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason Review

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Now she's found love with Mark Darcy (Firth), it looks as though Bridget's (Zellweger) singleton days are over - until an apparent love rival threatens to put a dampener on their relationship.


If you were to list the most likely sequels ever, this one would surely come just after Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets and Batman Returns. After all, the movie adaptation of Bridget Jones's Diary was a huge hit with both public and (surprised) critics alike, while the source material already existed in the shape of Helen Fielding's follow-up book. But that doesn't mean we're looking at a surefire success - sadly, Bridget's latest big-screen adventures represent more of a retread than any kind of progression.

While there's still some amusement to be had from our hapless heroine's quirky approach to life, the film feels light on plot and often struggles to fill its near two-hour running time, defaulting to schmaltz mode when something, dare we suggest it, funny would have worked so much better. Nowhere is this more apparent than during the first half, when Bridget, having settled into a life of cosy coupledom with Mark Darcy (Firth), becomes convinced he's up to no good behind her back, her insecurities all but killing their perfect relationship. Which is all very well, but it's dragged out to such an extent as to become frustrating to watch. Things pick up considerably once Grant returns as Bridget's sleazy ex - now working as a TV reporter for a trashy travel show - while the heroine herself, through a series of contrivances, winds up in a Thai prison and is forced to rethink her actions while behind bars.

Much of the humour is confined to a handful of set-pieces and keeps the same showy, slapstick mood established in the first movie - so we have Bridget sky-diving out of a plane into a pigsty, Bridget teaching a cell-load of Thai convicts to sing Madonna songs and, in one admittedly hilarious sequence, Bridget realising that skiing isn't nearly as easy as it looks. Zellweger, who has settled comfortably into the role, shines here, relishing the chance to show off her comic talents, while Grant once again proves he's much more fun to watch when playing a bad guy. Firth, however, is wasted - Mark Darcy is so dull that it's almost a relief when their relationship starts to unravel - while other returning cast members, including Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson and Jim Broadbent, are given so little to do that you wonder why they bothered coming back at all.

We're not talking total washout, though. It's a serviceable sequel, which will please the less demanding crowd. Plus, to the film's credit, it does look better than its predecessor, even if this should come as no surprise given that director Beeban Kidron has more of a track record than Diary's Sharon Maguire. Kidron really makes the most of her locations, interspersing the action, for example, with beautifully shot views of London and Thailand that help liven things up considerably. But beyond that, Edge Of Reason's overwhelming filmmaking-by-numbers feel rankles, with Kidron wheeling out warmed-over versions of jokes from the first pic (there's even a fight sequence between Firth and Grant, would you believe) and resorting to standard-issue rom-com clichés and radio-friendly pop tunes to plug the gaps.

Perhaps if it had relied more on the book than the first movie, things might have been different; the sequence in the novel in which Bridget interviews Colin Firth, for example, would have made for very interesting viewing. As it stands, it's little more than a hit-and-miss attempt to replay its predecessor's cinematic triumphs.

It may be well-acted and occasionally funny - largely thanks to Zellweger and Grant - but for the most part, Edge Of Reason is as saggy and well-worn as Bridget's big knickers.