Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
September 19, 2005
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Jacinda Barrett, Sally Phillips, James Callis, Shirley Henderson, Lucy Robinson, David Verrey, Mark Tandy, ,
With the commercial and critical success of Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) a sequel was inevitable. Helen Fielding, creator of the character, even wrote one but the problem becomes, how do you replicate the magic of the first film and yet make it different enough not to be just a retread of what came before? Now, everyone’s favourite curvy, clumsy British journalist is back in The Edge of Reason (2004), but was it worth the effort?
Bridget (Zellweger) and Mark (Firth) are still a couple in a happy relationship. However, as she writes in her diary, “What happens after you walk off into the sunset?” It is this nagging question that will cloud her judgement. Daniel Cleaver (Grant) is now a TV personality and as rudely funny as ever. On his show he describes the Sistine Chapel as the “First example in history of poof interior designer gone bonkers.” Trouble arises when working class Bridget feels out of place in Mark’s affluent, upper class world. To make matters worse, she starts to feel pangs of jealousy towards one of Mark’s beautiful co-workers, Rebecca (Barrett). Her gorgeous looks and casual familiarity with Mark makes Bridget nervous and jealous. How can she compete with a thinner, smarter, more attractive woman? This leads to issues like marriage and children to raise their ugly heads and cause a rift and ultimately split-up Bridget and Mark.
The big problem with this film becomes apparent early on. In the first film we were laughing with Bridget. In this one we are now laughing at her. For example, she skydives for her morning TV show and lands in a muddy pigpen. The segment ends with a gratuitous shot of her dirty behind.
The Edge of Reason also recycles many jokes from the first film. Mark and Daniel get into another knock-down, drag-out fight. The movie relies too much on physical humour. Bridget falls in a muddy pigpen. Later, she falls off the roof of Mark’s flat. Finally, she falls off a ski lift. See a pattern developing? The film takes a gag and proceeds to beat it into the ground until it isn’t funny anymore.
The chemistry between Zellweger and Firth is still strong. They make a great couple and clearly have a good rapport. Zellweger gamely puts on the pounds again and certainly has a knack for physical and verbal comedy. But the film places too much emphasis on the former and not enough on the latter. However, Hugh Grant is a breath of fresh, smarmy air as the roguish Cleaver. He openly leers at any good-looking woman and casually insults people with his scathing wit. The film only comes to life when he’s on-screen.
That being said, The Edge of Reason eventually settles into a comfortable groove and once you surrender to its faults, it is quite a pleasant movie, even though you know that it is merely a pale imitation of the superior original.
“The Big Fight” takes a look at the scuffle between Mark and Daniel. Grant and Firth talk about their experiences doing the scene and playfully make fun of each other.
“Who’s Your Man? Quiz” presents a series of questions to decide who you fancy more, Mark or Daniel?
Also included is an audio commentary by director Beeban Kidron. She comments that the concept of this movie is to explore what happens once you’ve got your man. She talks about trying to live up the brilliance of the first movie (she is clearly in awe of it). Kidron gamely talks about the film’s themes while shamelessly praising the performances of the cast.
There are three deleted scenes that are introduced by Kidron who puts them in context and explains briefly why they were cut. Included is an alternate opening that was thankfully not used and a funny dream sequence where Bridget imagines what her life would be like if she and Mark had a baby.
“Mark & Bridget: Forever?” focuses on the relationship dynamics between the couple. Firth, Zellweger and Kidron chime in with their thoughts.
“Bridget Jones Interviews Colin Firth” is easily the most entertaining extra. In Fielding’s book, Bridget interviewed actor Colin Firth. The scene never made the movie but at the end of one day of filming they shot the scene anyway with Zellweger staying in character and Firth playing himself.
“Lonely London” examines how they used CGI to do the grand shot of Bridget and Mark separated across several blocks of London in one take.