Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Renee' Zellweger Back As Beefy Brit Bachelorette

Three years ago, Renee' Zellweger put on a few pounds and adopted a London accent to fill the pudgy but pleasingly-plump title role in the entertaining adaptation of Bridget Jones' Diary. The film was a resounding hit, primarily due to the endearing vulnerability she exhibited in bringing the quintessential Brit bachelorette from the book to the big screen.
Though the baby fat and English inflections are back, the Bridget we get in this slightly disappointing sequel is not nearly as charming as the lovable loser we grew so fond of the first time around. Sure, she's still smoking and cursing and watching her weight, but she's in some ways not all that recognizable.
No longer shy and retiring, the new and improved Bridget has morphed from a nerd into an international jet-setter who skis in the Alps, skydives and travels to Thailand on assignment. However, for the sake of the sitcom, she remains prone to land in embarrassing situations.
Equally-conveniently, cad Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her ex-boss in the literary business, is now a fellow reporter at the same TV station. The inveterate lech still wants her body, which allows for more of those awkward, unwanted advances.
The story starts out just four weeks after the first ended, yet nothing feels familiar about the point of departure. We learn that Bridget's fairy tale love affair with dashing barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), which marked the happily-ever-after ending of the original, might already be on the rocks.
She's suspicious as to why he's been burning midnight oils with his attractive assistant and obsessively jealous about his relationship with Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett). So, all the tension, here, revolves around her fear that these cozy co-workers are up to no good, a presumption which might be one helluva red herring.
And while we're wondering whether Mark will dump Bridget, we're treated to a string of disconnected skits. A few are funny, but most miss the mark. The best is the case of mistaken identity where Bridget bursts into a room at the Inns of Court, impulsively pronouncing her undying love by mistake to an astonished, if appreciative, old geezer instead of her boyfriend. She immediately retracts her passionate, "I love you, I always have, and I always will," with the needlessly meanspirited, "I don't love you, I never have, and I never will."
Sprinkled with an array of such superfluous stick figures, Bridget 2 never amounts to anything more than mental chewing gum, offering less in the way of character development and more in the way of senseless silly slapstick.

Good (2 stars)
R for sex and expletives.
Running time: 106 minutes
Distributor: Universal

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