×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Second time round, Bridget is still fat, funny and endearing -- but "all a bit, um, familiar, actually." "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" reteams key cast in a playful retread with the assumption that fans will flock for a second helping. Powerful combo of Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth should ensure very good initial returns in Blighty.

With:
Bridget Jones - Renee Zellweger Daniel Cleaver - Hugh Grant Mark Darcy - Colin Firth Dad - Jim Broadbent Mum - Gemma Jones Rebecca - Jacinda Barrett Tom - James Callis Jude - Shirley Henderson Shazzer - Sally Phillips Richard Finch - Neil Pearson Robyn - Jessica Stevenson Jed - Paul Nicholls Una - Celia Imre

This review was updated on Nov. 3, 2004.

Second time round, Bridget is still fat, funny and endearing — but “all a bit, um, familiar, actually.” Long-in-the-works sequel to 2001 hit, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” reteams key cast in a playful retread with the assumption that fans will flock for a second helping. Powerful combo of Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth — all at the top of their game and utterly comfortable in their characters — plus high want-to-see factor should ensure very good initial returns in Blighty, where it opens Nov. 12 amid saturation coverage, and Stateside a week later, amid a rapid worldwide roll-out.

Even more than “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” current outing takes just the bare bones of Helen Fielding’s weighty, 420-page novel and tries to fashion it into a regular movie. Three writers, including Fielding, labored over the task, with Zellweger, Grant and Firth reportedly only signing on when Richard Curtis (“Notting Hill,” “Love Actually”) did a final rewrite. Curtis’ spirit and evocation of a fairy-tale London and Britishness hang over the entire enterprise in a positive way, though even he hasn’t quite managed to solve the central problem that there’s not a lot going on here.

Fielding’s novel managed to get round the problem with a mass of small incidents, loads of character subplots and the sheer compulsiveness of Bridget’s neuroses. But where “Diary” had a strong will she-won’t she emotional arc as Bridget found her ideal man, “Reason” is basically a series of set pieces that ends up where it started out. There’s no sense of dramatic journey here.

Film picks up six weeks after the end of “Diary,” with Bridget (Zellweger) blissfully happy with upper-class human rights lawyer Mark Darcy (Firth), with whom she’s spent Christmas in the countryside at her gushy parents’ (Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones) home. A doofus reporter for TV show “Stand up, Britain,” she’s bullied at work by her director, Richard (Neil Pearson), but otherwise life is just grand for the overweight Brit ditz. Even her lubricious boss, and onetime heartthrob, Daniel Cleaver (Grant), is away, touring the world as presenter of a dumb travel show.

But, when Bridget’s bitchy singleton pals, Shazza, Jude and gay Tom (Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson, James Callis, all encoring), urge her to dump Mark, and she hears he has been spending time with glamor puss lawyer Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett), all of Bridget’s neuroses start flooding back big time.

Kitted out with plenty of pratfall humor — all gamely played by Zellweger — pic’s first half-hour has a nervous energy, plus an intrusive song track, that seems a little too eager. Dialogue, though, has its fair share of humorous squibs, finding its feet during a banquet set piece where Bridget is initially overwhelmed by the snooty company.

A ski trip to Switzerland again includes a knockabout set piece, and ends with Bridget and Mark splitting up.

It’s here, almost halfway through, that a plot of sorts finally starts, signaled by a striking effects sequence of a London nightscape peopled by lonely people in their apartments. Now “single” again, Bridget is dragooned into joining Daniel on a working trip to Thailand.

Realizing Daniel has other things than work on his mind, Bridget takes Shazza along. But when Shazza falls for studly charmer Jed (Paul Nicholls) and Daniel turns up the heat, Bridget ends up in a Thai jail.

Though the script tries to replicate the first film’s heart-tugging moments, there’s a lack of a big emotional arc to tie the episodic structure together. However, on a performance level, the movie is practically flawless.

Zellweger, wearing her 20 extra pounds with even more glee, makes Bridget absolutely her own, with a now-flawless Brit accent and a mass of tiny mannerisms that sustain the role even when the script seems unsure. Given that no more Fielding novels exist, and the films’ relationship to them was only ever a starting point, Zellweger’s Bridget is now a bona fide comic creation that could have a screen future of its own.

With more time than in “Diary,” Firth balances Mark’s emotional retentiveness, inner warmth and class hang-ups in a surprisingly edgy, unpredictable performance that gives the movie its few moments of real uncertainty. At the other end of the scale, Grant, looking like he’s on one big vacation, simply has a ball with Daniel. Other roles, from Phillips’ self-serving Shazza to Jones’ scatty mum, are on the money, while Aussie-born looker Barrett (from MTV’s “The Real World”) is suitably soignee as the Sloaney Rebecca.

Beeban Kidron, taking the helming reins from the original’s Sharon Maguire, turns in a slick, marginally better-looking but generic product that doesn’t mess with the formula. Harry Gregson-Williams’ score is always an emotional assist, when given the chance between the jolting use of upbeat songs.

For the record, pic contains a sizable number of jokes that only British viewers will get.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

U.K.-U.S.

Production: A UIP (in U.K.)/Universal (in U.S.) release of a Universal Pictures, StudioCanal, Miramax Films presentation of a Working Title production, in association with Little Bird. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jonathan Cavendish. Executive producers, Debra Hayward, Liza Chasin. Directed by Beeban Kidron. Screenplay, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding, Richard Curtis, Adam Brooks, from the novel by Fielding.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor), Adrian Biddle; editor, Greg Hayden; music, Harry Gregson-Williams; additional music, Stephen Barton; music director, Nick Angel; production designer, Gemma Jackson; supervising art director, Dave Warren; art director, Paul Inglis; costume designer, Jany Temime; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS Digital/SDDS), Nick Foley, Simon Hayes, Glenn Freemantle; digital visual effects, Double Negative; visual effects supervisor, Jody Johnson; special effects supervisor, Stuart Brisdon; assistant director, Richard Styles; casting, Michelle Guish, Stacy Mann. Reviewed at UIP screening room, London, Oct. 25, 2004. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 106 MIN.

With: Bridget Jones - Renee Zellweger Daniel Cleaver - Hugh Grant Mark Darcy - Colin Firth Dad - Jim Broadbent Mum - Gemma Jones Rebecca - Jacinda Barrett Tom - James Callis Jude - Shirley Henderson Shazzer - Sally Phillips Richard Finch - Neil Pearson Robyn - Jessica Stevenson Jed - Paul Nicholls Una - Celia Imre

More Film

  • oscar nominee predictions 2019

    'Roma,' 'A Star Is Born' Poised to Lead Oscar Nominations

    Things got ugly this awards season, enough to give you pause about what might still lie ahead once Oscar nominations are announced next week. “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” etc. But as the phase one dust finally begins to settle, what does the landscape look like? On the heels of [...]

  • Oscars Predictions 2018 Illustration

    Academy Awards: Final Oscar Predictions in All Categories

    Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Below are In Contention’s final predictions in all 24 categories. Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” lead the way with 10 expected nominations apiece, while we forecast eight for Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” and seven each for Damien [...]

  • Zach Barack Spider-Man

    Transgender Actor Zach Barack Joins Sony's 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'

    Newcomer and transgender actor Zach Barack appears in a ground-breaking supporting role in Sony/Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” sources confirm to Variety. Barack can be seen in the new trailer, which was released on Tuesday. Tom Holland is returning to play Peter Parker, with Zendaya and Marisa Tomei also coming back for the sequel. Jake [...]

  • A Quiet Place Roma Jack Ryan

    'A Quiet Place,' 'Roma,' 'Jack Ryan' Among Golden Reel Nominees for Sound Editing

    The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) announced nominations for its 66th annual Golden Reel Awards Friday. On the film side, “First Man,” Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” “A Quiet Place” and “Roma” led the way with three nominations each. Musical dramas “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” received two, as did “The Favourite.” Among broadcast [...]

  • Nick Redman

    Nick Redman, Documentary Filmmaker and Soundtrack Producer, Dies at 63

    Nick Redman, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, award-winning soundtrack producer and co-founder of the Twilight Time video label, died Thursday afternoon, Jan. 17, at a Santa Monica Hospital, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 63. He was nominated for an Academy Award as producer of the 1996 documentary “The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage,” [...]

  • Nicky Jam Bad Boys

    Reggaeton Star Nicky Jam Joins 'Bad Boys' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Reggaeton sensation Nicky Jam is set to join the cast of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s upcoming “Bad Boys” sequel, “Bad Boys for Life.” Jam, who will play one of the villains in the Sony pic, joins series newcomers Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, DJ Khaled, and Paola Nuñez. Joe Pantoliano will return [...]

  • UniFrance Reveals Expanded VOD Slate

    UniFrance Announces New Incentives To Expand VOD Presence

    PARIS — With the annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema now well underway and its month-long MyFrenchFilmFestival about to kick-off, UniFrance has announced an ambitious slate of measures designed to more fully support French productions on VOD platforms in 2019. “Digital distribution is part of everything we do now,” said Quentin Deleau-Latournerie, the organization’s aptly titled [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content