Bridget Jones—poster girl for weight watching, relationship troubles and career fallout—is back in this serviceable sequel to 2001’s “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”
Since “Diary,” Renee Zellweger (Jones) has picked up an Oscar nomination for “Chicago” and an Oscar win for “Cold Mountain.” Another Oscar nod for “Edge of Reason” may not be in the offing, but Zellweger has proven once again her comedic chops.
She famously packed on the pounds to play Jones in the first adaptation of one of Helen Fielding’s novels, and she did it again here. But Zellweger pegs Jones not so much through increased size (which is really just about average), but through a walk, a cock of the head, a nervous laugh.
“Edge of Reason” picks up about six weeks after the end of “Diary.” Jones appears to have made quite the catch: barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who loves Jones just as she is. Problem is, Darcy seems too good to be true, and that makes Jones suspicious.
She’s especially wary of Darcy’s co-worker Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett), whose long legs, pretty face and omnipresence convince Jones that Darcy and Rebecca are having a fling. This belief leads Jones into several humiliating moments, which are a staple of the Bridget Jones life.
Into this relational unease saunters Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), a smooth-talking gent who wooed Jones in the first movie. Cleaver is not to be trusted, but that doesn’t stop Jones from wanting to trust him. Games of love, trust and self-esteem are thus afoot as Jones and Cleaver head to Thailand together on a work assignment.
“Edge of Reason” may not hold up as well as “Diary,” but as sequels go, it’s not bad. The British humor is a bit “randy,” as they say, but Jones’ social snafus are priceless.
The film moves along at a brisk pace with its short scenes, familiar pop tracks and voice-over from Bridget herself. And like a sit-com, every seemingly serious moment turns on a punch line.
A revelation near film’s end feels rather contrived and spoils some of the rhythm, but that’s an exception to otherwise fair storytelling.
“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” will appeal to adults with a penchant for British comedy, relationship foibles and Hugh Grant.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content. Reviewer’s Note: There are several sexual situations, as well as consumption of “magic mushroom” in Thailand.
Director: Beeban Kidron
Writers: Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding, Richard Curtis and Adam Brooks (based on the novel by Fielding)
Cast: Bridget Jones: Renee Zellweger; Mark Darcy: Colin Firth; Daniel Cleaver: Hugh Grant; Dad: Jim Broadbent; Mum: Gemma Jones; Rebecca: Jacinda Barrett.
The movie’s official Web site is here.