Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (15)

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It's a little unfair to go to Bridget Jones 2 expecting to see a startlingly original film. However the extent to which this sequel mirrors the first is the most notable thing about it. It begins - we're told - less than two months after the last one ends and (surprise!) it's Christmas again.

It's a little unfair to go to Bridget Jones 2 expecting to see a startlingly original film. However the extent to which this sequel mirrors the first is the most notable thing about it. It begins - we're told - less than two months after the last one ends and (surprise!) it's Christmas again.

The script's attempt to subvert criticism by turning much of the film into a self-referential play on the earlier installment wears a little thin. Can you forgive the line "I know there's no music and it's not snowing'' when a moment later there is music and the churchyard is covered in cotton wool?

The last five minutes contained so many red phone boxes and black taxis that one is forced to wonder if the director Beeban Kidron expects anyone to take it seriously at all. Maybe she just wants us to enjoy it. There are a number of great strengths: notably a great comic turn from Renee Zellweger and the laugh-out-loud chemistry between her and Hugh Grant, whose cameo as the rogue Daniel Carver is played (this time) as entirely loveable but - at 20 minutes screen time - is so brief that it need not be anything more. The comic timing is slick and the set and costumes, as long as you don't want gritty British realism, are engaging.

There are also notably toe-curling moments too numerous to note, but those that stand out are the faux psychedelic scene on a Thai beach and the saccharine comedy milked from the chirpy Madonna-singing inmates in the chirpy Thai jail where Bridget Jones is briefly incarcerated. This is the real sticking point: however charming the genuinely funny moments are in grand London houses and pompous Law Society dinners, they can but grate when brought so close to the genuine depravity and horror that ought to be represented in that prison.

See this film, but be prepared for it not to be quite the comfortable experience the first one was - in spite of their many similarities.

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