Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Misadventures of Miss Jones


directed by Beeban Kidron
starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant

I know I’m not the first to say this, having read some pretty harsh reviews of Bridget Jones’s second cinematic outing, but I have to say it anyway: This movie is a waste of everyone’s time. By “everyone” I mean both the people who made it and the people who have seen it or plan to see it.

The plot is nonsensical—one long string of silly non sequiturs and pointless contrivances cobbled clumsily together. (How closely it resembles Helen Fielding's novel in this respect I can't say, not having read either "Bridget Jones's Diary" or "The Edge of Reason.") The main character has become a caricature of herself. She bears no resemblance to the Everywoman all women, and many men, loved from the first movie. And whether it’s bad lighting, bad makeup, bad camera angles, or Renee showing her age (or weight gain), she looks thoroughly unappetizing from start to finish. In BJD, she had an unquenchable glow that made her utterly endearing. Here, that crinkle-cornered look of appeal in her eyes begins to take on a tinge of desperation, as if she can’t quite believe she’s come to this. For every Bridget Jones Moment that makes you laugh despite yourself, there are two or three that will make you cringe. (You know you’re in trouble in any movie when someone starts leading a chorus of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” And yes, that includes "Moulin Rouge.")

There are just two—count ‘em, two—redeeming features to this misbegotten sequel. One is Hugh Grant, looking devilishly sexy as Bridget’s forbidden fruit and nailing every line he drawls with pitch-perfect insouciance. The other is his ridiculous fight with the equally dishy but tighter-lipped Colin Firth, which lands them both in a London fountain. That fight alone is almost worth the price of admission. It also, however, points to the basic problem of the movie as a whole: “The Edge of Reason” isn’t a sequel; it’s a retread that ends up feeling like a shoddy knockoff. It has all the elements of the original—or at least approximations—but none of the charm. In this respect, it reminded me a little of “Legally Blonde 2”—only I didn’t have anywhere near the affection for “Legally Blonde” that I did (and still do) for “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” The best thing I can say about Bridget Jones 2 is that it’s ultimately too forgettable to affect my continued enjoyment of Bridget Jones 1.

RATING: ** (barely)


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