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First, the positives Colin and Hugh are still hitting their marks.
Even though he might not know why, Mark positively adores Bridget.
Colin gets that and twinkles, melts and warms in all the right places.
Same goes for Daniel he's drawn to his Bridge for some inexplicable
reason. Hugh Grant really ought to be looking for a patent for that
mojo he works so well. All of the original actors are back as Bridget's
parents and her "dating war command" of pals and all have a natural,
easy chemistry that works. But, the negatives, they are a-plenty.
Biggest problem here was the complete tone change. In the first film, we were on the ride with Bridget...seeing things through her eyes, groaning as she put her foot in her mouth again and cheering for her to finally get it right. However, in this movie, it feels like someone stuck her up on a stage and spent 2 hours throwing pies and tomatoes at her cause it seemed real cool. She's not in on the joke here, she IS the joke. Her few extra pounds are no longer just a part of the package they are the end-all of her worth as a person. It feels like the folks behind this film don't even LIKE the character they just think it's real cool to humiliate her as often as possible. It doesn't even look like they bothered to send Renee to makeup or wardrobe she (as Bridget) was pleasantly plump in the first film, but never dowdy. The character is downright frumpy in this movie with a perpetual case of bed head and clothes that look like castoffs from Mayberry. And Renee plays into it with her acting choices Bridget was frazzled in the first movie but still retained her dignity most of the time. She's a perpetual victim in this one, though, and even though Renee is still cute as a button and incredibly endearing, some of Bridget's spark is gone.
What happens after the happy ending? Couple realizes that they are each real, flawed people. And the movie makes it seem like Mark is at that point never tries to change Bridget, never gets angry and her constant mishaps amuse more than annoy. But, as each of Bridget's tantrums unfolded, I kept asking myself why in the WORLD the man was still there. Bridget's keen on him but doesn't trust him. She likes to be with him but is suspicious of his actions without any real cause. Now, we know she's an insecure character and feels like she's not classy enough to fit into his world. And if the movie built from that, maybe we'd have a different story. But the obstacles they face are external. The characters never make decisions on their own something or someone else makes them feel a certain way or forces them into a course of action that decides what will happen next. And Bridget's reactions almost make it seem like somehow, over the course of the last 'six weeks', she's regressed to a girl in the schoolyard stomping her feet when her boyfriend does something she doesn't like.
Another problem the utter lack of subtlety. Why include one fat joke when 3 or 4 plus a butt shot can fit into the scene? Why spend most of the movie dropping hints about a reveal when you can beat the audience over the head with it in one of the final scenes? Why have Daniel make one joke about stealing Mark's wife when he can drop another one 30 minutes later? Oh look, matching Christmas jumpers how cute. Most of the funny in this movie comes from certain 'episodes' as opposed to the dialogue. I loved the ski trip and Bridget's 'magic mushrooms' in Thailand. But, when the characters are actually talking to each other, they just aren't that funny. Most of the jokes are reruns from the first movie that feel stale. The naughty jokes are kicked up a notch but everyone in my packed theater, including me, either grimaced or sat stone-faced through most of them. Note to filmmakers: dirty has to actually BE funny to be funny.
This feels like a movie about a woman made by men who think wet clothes, girl-on-girl action and butt close-ups get it done. I read some interviews that said that Renee would only do a second film if it took care of Bridget and held up the standards of the first. I almost wonder if someone slid her this script on the first day of shooting as a rewrite once she'd already signed on the dotted line. This felt like a bleached, harsher version of the first the warmth is gone. I know there was a different director and I really don't think the new kid gets why Bridget was/is such a phenomenon. As much as I was looking forward to this film, I wish they'd never done it.
Oh, and also, as a P.S. if I was a Thai woman right now, I'd be suing Working Title and Miramax for defamation of character for their version of 'Fun with Stereotypes'.
First rule of comedy: Be funny.
But the makers of "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" don't bother with such trivial matters. Not when they've deluded themselves into believing that merely bringing back Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and a few others would automatically make the sequel funny, too. They were wrong.
The 2001 original was funny and charming. It had verve and wit. Bridget (Zellweger) was normal, as were her dilemmas and crises. She was plucky, resilient, but never a fool. We identified with her. Daniel (Grant) was delightfully caddish, Darcy (Firth) properly funny.
The sequel squanders a tremendously talented cast, none of whom seems to have a clue what to do. I don't know if they're wholly to blame - they're stuck in a dud. Although again based on Helen Fielding's novel, this has none of the original's wit or zip.
Although the sequel begins only four weeks after the original ended, Bridget, Darcy and Daniel have become caricatures of themselves. Their behavior's cartoonish. You know this film's in trouble when Grant simply slums it as a rake and Firth sputters about as if he's wondering how on earth he wound up agreeing to make this horrible picture.
The film relies completely on Zellweger's star power. She's game, but gives quite possibly the worst performance of her career. Bridget's become a daft twit. She's lost any semblance of intelligence. With nothing genuinely funny to fall back on, director Beeban Kidron gets Zellweger to simply waddle about the place trying to eke laughs out of us. Unfortunately, Zellweger's shtick is barely amusing and gets tiresome very quickly.
The idea of laughing at a large, buxom lass while she pratfalls her way through a horrendous film must strike a chord with some women. At the screening I attended, I sat next to four women who did not laugh - heck, I didn't hear even a chuckle from them throughout the entire film. Yet, they applauded at the end, as if they'd just discovered their anthem film.
It took four writers - Fielding, Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis and Adam Brooks - to write the drivel for this movie. They never find the right tone even once. Every joke is telegraphed or straining to be funny. This utterly unnecessary movie seems, at times, like an extended music video. But even the songs are predictable. During two scenes - at the Bangkok airport and an idiotic fight scene in a fountain - the music was so loud, it completely drowned out the dialogue. I don't know if the theater was to blame for this problem, but I suppose it was a blessing in disguise given how insipid much of the dialogue is.
This film is devoid of any novelty or humor. By the time we get to an excruciatingly long and unfunny prison sequence featuring yet another sorry moment that tries desperately to be funny - a chorus of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" - this film has gone so way off the tracks, there's no hope of it ever getting back on. This is a great example of a film being made because of star power and the need to make money, regardless of whether it was good or funny.
The sad thing is some terrific independent films are struggling to be released wide right now. But tripe like Kidron's film gets widely released a week early. "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" is lousy storytelling, rotten acting and awful film-making.
The problem with a sequel is that expectations are high - particularly
after a film as successful and engaging as BJ1. I knew already that the
new film did not adhere to the second book so I didn't expect to be
making comparisons. However, this movie was frankly ridiculous.
My problem with the film in main was that the character of Bridget was over-parodied. She is not supposed to be so much fatter than everyone around her, or as scatty and ungainly as she is portrayed in the film, which makes it harder to believe that there are 2 men and a woman after her.
The first film's success was due to the protagonist being charming and endearing - she made "human" mistakes (for example, the "blue soup") and fell for an unsuitable man who cheated on her. We felt sorry for her but also felt that she was funny and kooky and wanted her to "get her man" in the end. In this new movie she is frankly annoying, and we are almost incredulous that Mark Darcy should want her at all. They have nothing in common, the reason they break up at the beginning is not believable in any way, and the reasons they reunite are just as difficult to comprehend.
I also felt that the characterisations were not as layered as in the first movie, and the stupid lesbian twist didn't seem to make any sense.
It is a shame that they were so close yet so far with this new film, because in a way it negates the success and hilarity of the first one, which was a classic, intelligent portrayal of a 30-something singleton looking for her man. BJ2 is just a badly-made slapstick about a fat, unattractive girl who looks a complete mess and doesn't seem to have any self-awareness whatsoever. Sorry to be so harsh, but with the weight of the various names attached to the film, expectations were high.......
Having now seen The Edge of Reason (for the first time), I am prepared
to spend a moment responding to the inevitable criticism (inevitable
because I've already read hints of them on the boards and in some
reviews). WARNING, MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD....
1) They didn't stick close enough to the book. *** Ah, isn't this the mother of all complaints? In fact, many other complaints are just a variation on it. But here goes. First, there is no way they could have put in everything from the book (and most complaints are about parts that were omitted), because the movie would be way too long. Second, most things in the movie actually were from the book, or a variation on a scene from the book (e.g. Bridget's parents' wedding, in lieu of Jude and Vile Richard's wedding). And what's so bad about some new stories for Bridget? It's just more Bridget to love (not unlike her wobbly bits).
2) Yes, but what about the interview with Colin Firth? *** Haven't we heard this before? Obviously they left it out because Colin Firth was already in the movie as Mark Darcy. Also the book The Edge of Reason was written when Pride and Prejudice was slightly newer on video in the UK and was part of the contemporary pop culture of the day. (Although, I admit it still has a very strong fan base!) There are other cultural reference in the book, Edge of Reason, that just couldn't be put into the film without dating it (e.g., the death of Princess Diana). (P.S., Pride and Prejudice fans should listen very carefully to Bridget's comments to Shazzer when returning from Thailand.)
3) Why'd they bring back Daniel Cleaver? He wasn't even in the book! *** Aha, but you're wrong there! First, there's Bridget and Daniel's phone conversation about where Germany is located. Then some time later, Bridget accepts a dinner date with Daniel, and even buys condoms "just in case." He comes to Bridget's flat and makes a pass at her before Bridget comes to her senses and throws him out.
Granted, they expanded Daniel's role quite a bit for the film, but I happen to love his sleazy charm. He is funny, funny, funny, and Hugh Grant is perfect in the role. (Look for a little jab at Hugh Grant in the Thailand scenes.)
4) So many scenes seem to be a rehash (or should I say retread) of similar scenes in the first movie. *** There are indeed events which are similar to things that happened in Bridget Jones's Diary. But they are not presented as something new and unique - instead they are an opportunity to look back nostalgically and compare how Bridget's life has changed. (If you haven't seen first movie - heaven forbid - they can be new and unique.) For example, the silly Christmas jumper that Mark Darcy wore at the first turkey curry buffet has a whole new significance this year.
5) What, another Darcy/Cleaver fight? *** Oh come on, you love it! (I did expect Pat Benatar's "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" to break out at any time, and was quite disappointed that they didn't choose it as background!) The fight is fantastic, and totally in context with this movie - there is a good reason for it.
6) Bridget already had her happy ending in the first film, why do we need another? *** Aside from the fact that Helen Fielding wrote a second book? The end of Bridget Jones's Diary said "the beginning..."; not a promise of a sequel, but a reminder that life doesn't end with a kiss in the snow. This is the story of how a long-time singleton copes with being part of a couple (not very well).
7) They messed up the time sequence, and Bridget's age. *** Yes they did! My biggest pet peeve, in fact. Six weeks after the kiss in the snow should have been Valentine's Day, not a turkey curry buffet. And how can Bridget still be 33 at the end of another year? Not to mention that her "tombstone" says she was born in 1972....Come on, I'm three years older than when Bridget Jones's Diary came out, it's not fair that Bridget is a year younger! (Okay, I am not going to defend this flaw in the movie. But I suspect that most viewers will not be as troubled by it as I.)
So yes, the movie's not perfect, and it's not everything that a die-hard Bridget Jones fan would want. (I don't know that any movie could live up to those celestial expectations.) But it is v.g., and those who are Bridget fans will probably want to watch it many times. Those who just want to see a funny movie will like it too. Those who prefer explosions and gun shootouts should probably go elsewhere.
Since this is a review, I should also mention that Renee Zellweger was better than ever as Bridget (when I read the books, I now picture her as Bridget); Colin Firth was absolutely gorgeous, of course, and managed to crack his haughty Darcy-esquire facade with melting smiles on a number of occasions; and Hugh Grant was the very portrait of a posh cad.
But, oddly enough, I still liked this version of The Edge of Reason.
It's hard to put my finger on why -- because I'm not quite sure why some of the book's original plot lines were ommitted, and because I thought the Rebecca subplot was gratuitous -- but I did like it.
The first book was not-so-loosely based on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." The first movie left a lot of that in, and even included a lot of "inside jokes" for those of us who are familiar with that delightful book and the filmed version starring Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy. "The Edge of Reason" was not-so-loosely based on another Jane Austen novel, "Persuasion," but any overt Austen references are completely wiped out here.
The character of Giles Benwick is based on an Austen character named Benwick who has recently lost his fiancée, but that is the only Austen reference from the book left. It's a shame, too, because I liked that particular subplot in both Austen's "Persuasion" and Fielding's "Edge of Reason."
Given that I've complained about several aspects of this film, I'm still rather surprised that I liked it. Could it be because Bridget is still Everywoman and because Mark Darcy is still the Perfect Man (and probably because he's still played by the ever-dishy Colin Firth)?
Who knows. All I do know is that it was cute, it was funny and it was entertaining. You can't ask for much else.
It seems that, now, even romantic comedies have gone the way of
cookie-cutter action flicks in their being too formulaic.
Spare yourself watching this movie. The gist is this: the new Bridget Jones is a blubbery, stupid, awkward woman. She goes on various trips and social outings, never failing to fall down, make stupid comments, spill things on people, put her makeup on wrong, etc etc ad nassssseum. Think slapstick comedy. Think the Curly from the 3 stooges, getting bonked on the head for the 212th time. It gets old fast.
In the first movie, I think a lot of girls could sympathize with her flub-ups and awkwardness because Bridget was also witty and intelligent, in spite of her shortcomings. Only this time around she's pretty much just a waste of space.
Oh, by the way, there isn't actually any plot development for the movie. Just endless scenes of Bridget making a fool of herself.
They always say sequels are worse than the original movie, but I've never seen one so much abysmally worse than the first.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Why anyone made this film is completely beyond the edge of reason. I was absolutely fuming when I came out of the cinema and was desperate to give those robbing b*****ds a good spanking for making me pay TEN EUROS! to see a film which just blew me off the hook... and onto the sharp edge of my temper. Ooooo, how dare they make a really good and entertaining film and then con us into thinking that the second one would be just as good. Robbery. Absolute robbery. I am a huge fan of romantic comedies but this one was just...(what's the word?) terrible. Please don't see this film. I'm begging you. You will regret it for the rest of your life. I think I'll give this film a generous 2 out of 10 because I am in a kind and caring mood.
Oh the expectations are high and the studio is bumping up the release
date but what about the film? In the case of Bridget Jones: The Edge of
Reason, it was inevitable that the freshness and sheer pleasure of a
funny, heartfelt love story of Bridget Jones's Diary, would be a hard
act to top much less follow. While entertaining in its own way and
filled with enough charm and wit to keep things moving and interesting,
it is a step down for the Helen Fielding heroine. No Oscar nominations
are forthcoming this time.
Not a couple months have passed as our favorite British journalist (played with gusto by Renee Zellweger) is dating her dream beau, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth returns as a noble steed). Slowly, our Bridget notices a young female clinging to her man on a regular basis, and with life full of its insecurities, doubts and suspicions are thus born. Enter handsome Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant is as dashing as ever) who wants to rekindle an earlier romance with Bridget who wonders if he has mended his philandering ways. That pretty well sums up the main storyline. There are a few other minor story threads such as Bridget's parents getting remarried, but they are few and far between.
Zellweger is always appealing even as an overweight, accident-prone romantic. Fans may be a bit startled to see her appearance after a few years of terrific performances in slimmed down roles. Firth, who was handpicked by author Fielding, duplicates his steady, straightlaced lawyer while Grant spices the sexual scenery with his bad boy ways. You will recognize returning supporting characters from before including James Broadbent as Bridget's dad, a role that is minimal at best.
While the screenplay has some nice bits of dialogue and one-liners, the whole thing just doesn't come together as a satisfying whole. There are no real surprises here in the story even though it contains a couple of mild shocks in plot line. The direction is not as crisp as before-this time Beeban Kidron(Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar) takes the helm in not quite inspired fashion. Where is original director, Sharon Maguire? Maybe frequent scribe Richard Curtis would have been perfect. Just one of his story lines in Love Actually is as good as or better than anything in Edge of Reason.
Perhaps the biggest problem with this film is that it is a chore to find anything truly engaging or to feel any sympathy and concern for Zellweger's character. In addition, there was an absence of really funny situations without seeming to be contrived. Maybe that's being picky, but that's the level of satisfaction Bridget Jones's original incarnation has engendered.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This really is a soulless piece of film. The filmmakers have taken the few things that were funny and/or original from the first, and have over-exploited them to lengths of insane proportions. Bridget is too stupid. Darcy is too nice. Cleaver is too much of an asshole. Pile these horrendous characters between countless shag jokes, and what is quite possibly the most absurd story of any film this year, and you're left wondering what the hell happened to the original that was actually relatively witty, and at times, dare i say it, clever. Some of the sequences in this film are as painful as having your eyes injected with heroin, and if you pay ANYTHING to see this, you are being ripped off. Avoid.
Directed By: Beeban Kidron
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jacinda Barrett, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson
The opening of Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason just looks like it is asking for trouble. The first half hour features lame references to The Sound Of Music and The Spy Who Loved Me, and fails to recapture the magic of its forerunner's opening. Having Bridget sing All By Myself in Bridget Jones's Diary felt genuine; having her recreate THAT parachute dive (with Nobody Does It Better playing in the background) just seems desperate and obvious. But The Edge Of Reason does recover, and, in the end, provides warm enough entertainment.
What problems does Bridget (Renée Zellweger) actually have this time? Well, none. She's happy in her relationship with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). And that's the problem. Everything is all too right. Several emotions, including jealousy, begin to surface when one of Mark's work colleagues, the exceptionally fit Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett) arrives on the scene. Bridget is also about to find her hands full thanks to the coincidental, but not surprising return of her former boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant).
There's nothing particularly wrong with The Edge Of Reason, it's just missing the spark that nearly lifted our first encounter with Bridget up to the level of maximum marks. Thankfully, no amount of inconsistencies and unlikely happenings, coupled with a preposterous narrative that would make Love Actually seem coherent (Richard Curtis hasn't really learnt anything, has he?) can hide the fact that I left the cinema quite contented.
Renée Zellweger, though not quite as consistent with the accent this time, can play Bridget in her sleep. It's clear the role was made for her, and she doesn't need to do much. Alas, this is also a problem. She no longer has a point to prove, and as a result it looks like she literally IS sleepwalking through the role. It's a complacent performance that screams, "Look, now I've got an Oscar, so I can do this without trying too hard." Her heart just doesn't seem in it.
In fact, "heart" is what this film lacks as a whole. The warm glow of the previous film has been replaced by a decorated sitcom feel, with a fast, frantic pace that moves from one sketch to the next. The likes of Bridget and Mark don't feel real anymore; they're as deep as Bridget's friends, despite the actors' best efforts. The effortless charm of Bridget Jones's Diary is still here, but only in spurts.
What a relief the second half of the film is then. Perhaps this has something to do with the arrival of Hugh Grant, whose comic timing is as immaculate as ever. Just like one of the film's main subplots, his entrance may be incredibly contrived, but it has ENERGY something that is sorely missing from the film's opening half hour. As far as everyone else goes well, Colin Firth is as dependable as ever, but he does nothing to write home about here. But it is good to see Sally Phillips getting more screen time (even though Shirley Henderson and Jim Broadbent are both wasted), and Jacinda Barrett is irresistible in her small role. Rebecca actually hides a little secret that may be offensive to some, but hilarious to others.
I think the problem with The Edge Of Reason lies with Beeban Kidron, the director. Where the original's director, Sharon Maguire, gave us smart, unforced comedy with a feeling of novelty, Kidron piles on the slapstick so heavily to the point where what's on screen is only occasionally funny. I could also add that Kidron has not only added more slapstick to this film, but more product placement. (If Galaxy, Coke and Ben & Jerry's really are the answer to all the world's problems, I suppose it's not hard to see where Bridget gets all her weight from.)
The Edge Of Reason functions perfectly as a romantic comedy matinée, but it's kind of disappointing no, make that sad when a film you thought would be one of the real high points of the year ends up joining the list of disappointments. On this evidence, I can definitely wait for Bridget Jones to write another diary.
Rating: *** (out of *****)
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