I had a strange reaction when watching Bridget Jones: The Edge or Reason. It made me not want to write about it on the blog because that would in some way validate its existence. This made my brain go a little funny, which is more than this pointless and annoying sequel ever did.
I’m not going to say the original film was the greatest romantic comedy ever, but it had a certain charm about it and left the viewer with a smile on their face. However, this film does nothing apart from wishing it never existed. The film falls into the classic trap of bad sequels: re-creating the first film but making it slightly bigger. This proves a bit of a pain, as the two lovers had come together at the end of the original, meaning that invented tension is enforced to lead to a split so that there can be something approaching drama and allow the return of Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver, before it all comes out all right in the end.
It takes four writers of experience (Andrew Davies, of many literary adaptations; Helen Fielding, who created the character; Richard Curtis, modern maestro of romcoms; and Adam Brooks, who brought us Wimbledon, Practical Magic and French Kiss) to come up with this debacle. What’s worse is that it is not funny. It just repeats the bits people remember from the first film – Bridget’s bum on camera close-up? Check. Bridget saying something inappropriate in front of a lot of people? Check. The big pants? Check. Colin Firth and Hugh Grant having a bad fight? Check. It’s embarrassing. It’s like fanfic.
Practically everyone who was in the original is back, even if they are hardly in it (as well as wasting Jessica Stevenson, who has about five lines). James Callis and Shirley Henderson, as two of the friends of Bridget, turn up to spout exposition (at least Sally Phillips, as Shazza, gets some more scenes). Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent, as Bridget’s parents, must have wondered why they were there, especially as they seem to do nothing at all about the Thailand incident.
Ah yes, the Thailand incident. In the logic of sequels, things must be larger because of bigger budgets, so Bridget (and her friend Shazza) are in Thailand with Daniel Cleaver to work on the travel show that Cleaver is fronting. Shazza shacks up with a young man who gives her a fertility bowl; it doesn’t fit in her suitcase, so Bridget says she’ll take it. That feeling of dread you now have as you can see what is going to happen is worse when watching the film. Because, in the middle of a light-hearted romcom, the lead is put in a Thai jail for drug smuggling. Hilarious. You’re laughing at the thought of it, aren’t you? Unbelievable. What is worse is the line of jokes they go for, as Bridget bonds with the rest of the women in jail, and she teaches them to sing the correct lyrics to Madonna’s Like A Virgin. No, I did not just make that up.
That was the lowest point of the film. I still can’t believe I watched that part without kicking my television. The stupid reason for this is so that Mark Darcy, who happens to be a human rights lawyer, has the perfect opportunity to do his lawyering thing and ‘rescue’ Bridget (without her knowing it) and prove to Bridget that he loves her even though he acts coolly to her after it appears that she has slept with Cleaver. It is inane.
The film is insulting on a general level, from this stupid plotting to the use of popular songs to indicate what mood the viewer should be feeling, if they are too idiotic to work it out. Bridget walks out after standing up to her boss – Think by Aretha Franklin. Cleaver seduces Bridget shortly after she has broken up with Darcy – I’m Not In Love by 10CC. Bridget running through Inner Temple, soaked to the skin, to tell Darcy she loves him – Crazy In Love by Beyonce. Sledgehammer subtlety.
The one tiny spurt of imagination comes in the form of a conversation with a horrible woman who says things in a casual manner which are quite horrible, the equivalent of a jellyfish barb as they describe in the film. So, when she says something horrible, a small jellyfish in the corner keeps count, and a retort to one of these reduces the counter. This small part of a scene is the one piece of originality in the whole film.
Of course, this spark of novelty is lost in the depth of awfulness. Perhaps the worst incidence of direness was at the end, with the overexplanation of lesbian attraction for all the stupid people watching who weren’t paying attention. The woman who has supposedly been played as potential love threat to Bridget states at the end of the movie that it is always Bridget she has been interested in – and then they play the bits of the film where she has interacted with Bridget AGAIN in order to show that she fancied her all along. It was the most insulting piece of TELL I have ever seen in a film.
This film is bad, bad, bad. The worse thing about this film is that is degrades the original. The whole point in the previous film was for the clumsy, dumpy, quiet, ordinary Bridget to find her true love and walk off into the sunset together. The sequel therefore makes it redundant and pointless. Now that is the sign of a bad film; its toxicity affects other films. They completely miss the point. It’s like the people who thought that Cinderella needed a sequel (Cinderella II: Dreams Come True). Please avoid this film.