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Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant
Director: Beeban Kidron
Rated: R
RunTime: 108 Minutes
Release Date: November 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Colin Firth, Jacinda Barrett, Morne Botes, Jim Broadbent, James Callis, William Gaunt, Shirley Henderson, Gemma Jones, Lucy Joyce, Wolf Kahler, Sally Phillips

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1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
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4.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Harvey Karten
2½ stars out of 4

"I'll always be just a little fat," concedes the title character, Bridget Jones (Renee Zellwegger) to her boy friend, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) in pursuing her courtship with her best catch, a high-powered lawyer with whom she shares intimacy and awaits a proposal. Her self deprecation, however, is not meant to be taken as a sign of humility by someone who knows she has what it takes, but an accurate summing up of her personal qualities, especially her lack thereof. She's kind of a schlemiel and knows it, yet she has had a relationship that includes "seventeen wonderful days of shagging" and believes she can both increase her social class and fit in with her more uptight partner and his even more starchy business colleagues from around the world.

Bridget, whose Mum (Gemma Jones) and Dad (Jim Broadbent) are about to renew their wedding vows, is now thirty-two years of age and can virtually hear the ominous ticking of her biological clock. Yet each time her hopes soar that Darcy will pop the question, out comes another embarrassing utterance. She tells people what's on her mind without a thought of self- censorship. Words aren't the only problem. When she accompanies Darcy on a weekend ski break in the Austrian Alps, suggesting to her mate that she's an accomplished snow- lover, she flip-flops more time than the recent unfortunate candidate for the U.S. presidency, tumbling backwards and lurching forward, even getting unintentionally involved in a professional ski competition where she inadvertently crosses the finish line first.

As in any formulaic romantic comedy, the trick is to keep the couple who are suited for each other apart for one reason or another until in the final scene they get together as you know they would. The fun in Beeban Kidron's sequel to "Bridget Jones' Diary" comes from the very incidents that keep her and Darcy apart. One is Darcy's apparent liaison with his attractive co-worker, Becky (Jacinda Barrett), who seems every bit more the likely match than a potential Darcy-Jones reunion. The other is Bridget's get-together with the film's cad in the form of Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), a smart, witty, handsome journalist with whom she shares a room on a junket to Thailand, only to wind up in a Thai jail looking at a sentence of up to twenty years for cocaine smuggling. The movie's key scene that reaches for the kind of hilarity that director Kidron nurtures involves a fight between Bridget's two boyfriends, Darcy and Cleaver, yet the obligatory fall into a fountain–Cleaver's wondering aloud whether his opponent is aiming to drown him "in sixteen inches of water"–is a cliche and falls flat.

Renee Zellweger is in virtually every frame in a role that cannot compare in depth or resonance with her Oscar-winning act as the farmer who gets Nicole Kidman's hands dirty in "Cold Mountain," but given that this is a sequel that palls in comparison with "Bridget Jones' Diary"–which has the advantage of novelty in introducing us to the quirky characters–the comedy offers a diverting hour and three- quarters of formulaic charm.

Copyright © 2004 Harvey Karten

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