Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (15)

Bridget hits rock bottom

The famous diary seems to have disappeared, along with the chardonnay and the calorie counting. But the most significant change between the first Bridget Jones movie and this sequel is not an absence but a presence, specifically in Bridget's bedroom: lying by her side is Mark Darcy, the saturnine gent who's become in the six weeks of their courtship "a total sex god". This would seem to make everything in our heroine's world tickety-boo, but it gives the film-makers a problem. "What comes after the happily ever after"? is the way they put it, though the question could also be couched: "What is the point of Bridget Jones when she's no longer a singleton?"

The team behind Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason has considered this, and the answer goes: look, we've had a hit with it once - we'll muddle through a second helping. Talking of which, Renée Zellweger as Bridget looks as if she's had second helpings of everything for the past six months, though she handles the extra poundage if not with grace then certainly with professionalism. Her flat-footed waddle and tendency to scrunch up her eyes when she smiles are rather endearing, and the rubicund glow on her cheeks retains a kind of Alpine wholesomeness. I wonder how many other Hollywood actresses would submit themselves to this quivering-jelly look, or indeed to the gauntlet of humiliations that Bridget stumbles through. The film is barely five minutes old and already she has skydived from a plane smack-dab into a pigsty, where TV cameras are on hand to catch her soggy-bottom moment.

This is pretty much like the scene where she flies bum-first down the fireman's pole in the original movie, an early indication that we will be watching less a sequel than a remake. Well, slapstick can be infinitely recycled, but the tug of love can't be duplicated now that domestic bliss has been installed chez Jones. The solution dreamed up by the film's four credited writers - Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding, Richard Curtis, Adam Brooks - is to do away with a plot altogether and simply vary the misunderstandings that kept Bridget and Mark apart first time round. So now Bridget goes into unlikely paroxysms of paranoia every time she sees Mark talking to his attractive new colleague Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett). She is exasperated by the way Mark folds his underpants. At a Law Society dinner she makes an injudicious remark about bald, right-wing nobs in front of certain bald, right-wing nobs. And she gets the hump when Mark expresses a mild hope that, should he ever have a son, he would put him down for Eton.

These are small awkwardnesses by any standard, but for the purpose of driving a wedge between the two lovebirds they have to fake the importance of relationship wreckers. You could call it lame. And who should be waiting to break Bridget's fall but Mr Love Rat himself, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), who has conveniently joined the very TV company where Bridget now works. Hugh Grant seems to enjoy reprising Cleaver's drawling insouciance, even if the script gives him mostly the same shtick, loftily addressing Bridget as "Jones", enthusing over her big pants and breaking through her defences. He also gets to make nice with Jeremy Paxman and then walk away muttering "tosser" under his breath.

The film blows its budget on a trip to Thailand where Daniel and Bridget are filming a holiday programme, the only time in the movie where the mushy mood threatens to turn sour as Bridget is arrested and imprisoned on a drug-smuggling charge. Director Beeban Kidron, who has been grouting the gaps between set-pieces with blasts of pop music, then presides over what might be the most excruciating scene of any movie this year when Bridget leads her fellow inmates in a Madonna-inspired dance routine - "Like a Virgin", in a Thai prison? I wasn't sure which was more offensive, the tasteless exploitation or the technical incompetence.

At some point you have to ask: how little are the fans prepared to settle for? Will it matter to them that there's a public fisticuffs between Darcy and Cleaver virtually identical to the first movie? That Bridget's three "friends", Jude, Shazza and Tom, have absolutely no life during their few dismal scenes? That a breathless cab ride figures at the finale, as it does in almost every movie Richard Curtis touches? I'm afraid it probably won't. Nor will it bother the folk at Working Title once the queues start forming. All the same, this is a pretty tawdry product, and it hasn't even the virtue of novelty any more. Throughout one senses a desperation to please, to seek the easiest laughs and the quickest payoffs. The writers can't even manage to be consistent in their positioning of Bridget. One minute she's an expert on celebrity trivia and answering quiz questions on Footballers' Wives, the next she's confusing Iran with the name of David Bowie's wife. As for Bridget being elevated to heroic status, this movie inadvertently turns the idea on its head. I might be reading too much into Colin Firth's look of suppressed mortification, but I wonder how close Darcy came to telling Bridget what a needy, ignorant, self-involved, paranoid wreck she actually is.

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee