Uncoordinated fighting between well-dressed British men, enthusiastic lip-syncing to past pop hits, mini-breaks and emotional fuckwits welcome to the now-familiar universe of Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger), our favorite ex-singleton from London. The second foray into a world where one’s biggest problem is finding oneself a proper boyfriend, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason proves only one single thing. Jokes are always less funny the second time around.
At first, things seem to be looking up for our heroine. When we are reunited with Bridget, she is in the midst of a deliriously perfect relationship with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and enjoying a successful career as a television journalist (with minor quirks, of course). But when Mark starts spending time with his newest work colleague, Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett) who seems to be a double threat of both beauty and brains, Bridget begins to doubt the validity of her supposed happy ending. It doesn’t help matters that a coincidence at work has reunited Bridget with resident slimeball Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and brought the two of them to Thailand for a story. What’s a girl to do?
What should be deservingly called Bridget Jones 1.5: The Remix, The Edge of Reason delivers all the tried and true gags of Bridget Jones’s Diary now with a ridiculous dose of exaggeration. What do I mean exactly? Think Mark and Daniel’s notorious street fight and factor in a water fountain. Think Bridget’s unfortunate slide down a fireman’s pole and factor in a pig pen. The reoccurring components are simply endless.
But that’s not all. The trend of exaggeration is by no means confined to plot and, in fact, extends to most characters as well. Bridget, still klutzy and still afflicted with a chronic case of verbal diarrhea, has now become annoyingly neurotic as well. Mark, despite his verbal quips and endearing reindeer Christmas sweater, is perfection incarnate to a point of suspicion. Never has there been a more literal case of “he says all the right things at exactly the right time.” But even one-dimensional, cardboard Mark cannot measure up in incredulity to the endless coagulation of sleaze that is now Daniel Cleaver. When did our favorite characters become caricatures?
A charming film about the trials and tribulations of a modern single girl’s life, the first Bridget Jones was a refreshing look at someone who wasn’t perfect. Now that our heroine has succeeded both professionally and romantically, it seems redundant to elaborate further in both areas. What results from The Edge of Reason is, ironically, a total lack of reason. Issues are beaten to death and the film becomes an endless string of gags possessing no visible theme to tie together into a coherent story.
At times awkward and unconvincing, The Edge of Reason seems to be a case of sloppy unification. All the elements that once spelled success for the first movie are here: the likeable cast, the romantic misunderstandings, the upbeat soundtrack and the multitude of British accents. But somehow, the first movie’s unanimous success could not be duplicated twice and The Edge of Reason ends up being a less satisfying imitation of what once was. Unlike its unpredictable predecessor, The Edge of Reason suffers from a severe cases of “been there, done that.” As Bridget stands gingerly on the sidewalk after a storm, we know with a gut instinct that she will inevitably be splashed by a passing car. Much like the rest of the film, this predictability proves that recycling plot will get you no where.