Back Comments (2) Share:
Facebook Button
Evolving from a series of newspaper columns into a novel, Bridget Jones's Diary took the publishing world by storm when it was released in 1997. Helen Fielding's thirty-something heroine was a woman with two main goals in life: find a man and lose some weight. The book seemed to capture the imagination of modern women for, in 2001, Hollywood came calling.  The movie, starring Renée Zellweger in the title role, was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and, it would appear the producers weren't prepared to let a good thing die as a sequel arrived in 2004. For those that missed it at the cinema, the DVD is here…

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Film
Six weeks after the events of the first film, Bridget is still very happy. She’s got her man, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), and things couldn’t be peachier. However, our protagonist grows increasingly suspicious that Mark might just be having after work relations with his secretary and, several misunderstandings later, the couple have split.

And right away we’ve run into a bit of a problem. Good sequels ( The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part Two to name two hand-wrapped examples) exist primarily to continue the prequel’s story; embellishing the characters and their relationships. Bad sequels, meanwhile, such as Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, settle on just telling the same story all over again.  

Once more, we’re expected to question whether Mark and Bridget will be united by the end credits. The fact that this question is a no-brainer means that it is hard to care about anything or anyone in this movie. To look at the basic narrative, we’ve got a bunch of characters that, after 108 minutes of runtime, are in exactly the same position as they started. They haven’t actually leant anything because all of the misunderstandings came from contrived, and not particularly funny, set-pieces. Despite the claims that this is a film which tells us what happens ‘after the happy ending’, a lack of emotion throughout means that this is pretty hollow. This is a sequel for the ‘sake of a sequel’. The writers, including Love Actually scribe Richard Curtis, have decided to rest on their laurels and simply give us more of the same, disguised as something resembling originality.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
To return to the story, Bridget decides that the only way she can get over Mark is to go on a reporting assignment in Thailand. Accompanying her is old flame, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). Ignoring the fact that Bridget learnt that Cleaver was a chauvinist pig in the earlier movie, his reappearance is supposedly to make Bridget question her relationship with Mark. Perhaps a better idea would be for the writers to introduce a new love-interest but, of course, that would mean that the ever-popular Grant would be surplus to sequel requirements. Admittedly, it’s usually fun watching Grant in his less stereotypical roles (see About a Boy for a shining example) but here he’s given precious little to do. In fact, his only purpose seems to be to illustrate just how fickle/stupid Bridget is. She’s only too willing to jump back into bed with him when such an opportunity arises. It's only when Cleaver's 'nice bloke' facade so blatantly slips that Bridget reconsiders.  

Running a few minutes shy of two hours, you might assume that there's a wealth of comedy and story in this film. Alas, the story is not worth the post-it note it was scribbled upon, mainly because our two main characters profess their love for each other in the thirtieth minute, and then irritate us by squabbling for the next eighty. As for the comedy set-pieces; they’re both original and good. Unfortunately, the bits that are original aren't good, and the bits that are good aren't original...

Remember the bit in the first film when Bridget, dressed in Fire-fighter garb, gave a film crew a good look at her bottom as she slid down a pole? Well, here it is again, except now she’s wearing a parachute. How about the part of Diary where Mark and Daniel had a rather pathetic fight in the street? It’s here too, but -wow- now they’re in a park instead! And of course, there's that old standby of sticking Bridget in a funny costume and/or having her fall over. The secret to Box Office Gold, it would appear.

For what it’s worth, Zellwegger tries to rise above the material but never quite succeeds in rekindling the audience’s love for the character. While once she was lovably ditzy, here’s she just a buffoon; single-handedly creating all of the problems in her life, and then relying on her Prince Charming to come to the rescue. It’s unusual to find such an overtly anti-feminist film masquerading as a romcom.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
This is film-making at its most shallow; a wholly cynical attempt to reheat the old dish and serve it under the pretence that it's something new and exciting. While it's a nice reunion of all of the cast members of the first film, they're not accompanied by decent writing; something which is far more important. Instead we have a lack of laughs and a meandering plot.

To be fair, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is a watchable piece of fluff. It's never terrible but it is by-the-numbers film making. And it certainly makes the original look like a classic in comparison.

Video
Quite a surprise, this. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is presented with an unsatisfying transfer that gives the effect of a grittily realistic drama as opposed to a glossy romantic comedy. The colours are muted throughout and there's a distinctly large amount of grain visible for much of the runtime. While it's generally well-defined with a nice amount of sharpness and clarity, it has to be said that the picture quality is disappointing.

Audio
Since this is a film which relies on its top forty pop soundtrack to set the mood of each scene, it's just as well that the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is up to standard. While the sound quality is never put under close scrutiny due to a lack of action, the dialogue is clear and the music is well-handled. Occasional tracks can be a little overpowering; drowning out the dialogue in the process. However, this is easily avoided by tweaking your surround settings.

Extras
The adjective ‘hilarious’ pops up far too frequently in Beeban Kidron's audio commentary. Kidron seems genuinely proud of the movie and, for those that are similarly oblivious to its faults, this chat-track should be worth a listen.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Kidron also pops up in the Deleted Scenes segment. Perhaps 'deleted sequences' is a more accurate term, as all four of them are fairly large chunks. 'Fox-Hunting' is yet another excuse to stick Bridget in a silly costume and have her fall over, but 'The Christening' is an interesting sequence which possesses emotion that was lacking in the final cut. Next up is 'Renoir Cinema', a scene which shows Bridget and Mark's slight irritation towards each other on a date and completing the quartet is 'Baby Fantasies' which should have made the grade in some kind of form as it's better than many of the laughs in the film.

Readers of the book on which the film is based may have been a little miffed to notice the absence of the novel's sequence in which the fictional heroine meets her idol; the real Colin Firth. In an introduction to this special feature, director Beeban Kidron explains that they initially intended to include the scene but eventually relented when they couldn't find a pleasing stand-in for Firth. Fortunately, they decide to film it with Firth playing himself and the result is of genuine interest. As a separate entity to the film, it can operate by its own logic and Firth and Zellwegger are obviously enjoying themselves. There are some funny lines as Bridget struggles to ask a question which isn't about Firth's role in the BBC's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

A growing complaint of high-profile releases is the need to have countless lightweight featurettes instead of one wide-ranging documentary. It's certainly a fault of this disc which covers multiple aspects but never in any depth. 'The Mini-break to Austria', 'Mark and Bridget Forever' and the 'Guide to Exotic Thailand' featurettes all stretch to around five minutes and are populated by footage and sound bites from the cast and crew. Even shorter is 'Lonely London', a CGI featurette which looks at a key sequence of the movie.

The Who's Your Man Quiz is one those interactive puzzles that frequent DVDs and are greeted with universal apathy. This one will apparently suss out who's your ideal man out of Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy. As a rather daft addition, it can also be played during the film, with the action paused after key-sequences.

Trailers complete the package. Although teasers for either of the Bridget Jones films are noticeable by their absence, Wimbledon, Meet the Fockers and Billy Elliot: The Musical are present and correct.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Overall
‘Same Bridget, same jokes’ would have been a more accurate tagline for this wholly unnecessary venture. The extras on this disc are fair and the presentation is reasonable, but the film itself is surely the weakest link. With the morbid curiosity that draws audiences to hyped up sequels, there's no doubt that this DVD will fly off the shelves. But here's hoping such an event does not encourage a part three.


Links: