EW Staff
March 01, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Current Status
In Season
101 minutes
Wide Release Date
Renee Zellweger, Morne Botes, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gemma Jones
Beeban Kidron
Adam Brooks, Richard Curtis
Comedy, Romance

We gave it a C

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason picks up where ”Bridget Jones’s Diary” left off, with the calorie-, cigarette-, and alcohol-obsessed thirtysomething English TV journalist in possession of a good man, as recorded in her ongoing journal: ”129 pounds (total fat groove), boyfriends 1 (hurrah!), shags 3 (hurrah!), calories 2,100, calories used up by shags 600, so total calories 1,500 (exemplary).”

But, perhaps fearing that for the purposes of a sequel, possession is nine tenths of a bore, the author Helen Fielding barely allows the couple a slap and a tickle before steering Bridget away from the experience of a rewarding relationship and onward to ever more inane behavior and goofy misadventures. And the cumulative effect of so much meddling — decision making by attention deficit — is to diminish reader empathy rather than deepen it. To quote Bridget at her most blitheringly Ally McBealish: ”Durr.” ”Yurr.” ”Gaaah. Aargh.”

It’s almost as if Bridget must be punished for abandoning her single-girl routines to become (as Shazzer so bitterly puts it) a ”Smug Going-Out-with-Someone.” First, a boyfriend-stealing acquaintance makes a play for Bridget’s guy, and Bridget convinces herself that he’s bound to surrender. Then a carpenter arrives to put up shelves, and Bridget finds herself incapable of removing him from her home. Sent on a dream magazine assignment to Rome to interview actor Colin Firth — ”Pride and Prejudice”’s Mr. Darcy himself — the professional journalist misses her plane, misses her deadline, and misses the point of the assignment. Wandering off on a vacation with Shaz in Thailand, Bridget gets thrown in jail, à la ”Brokedown Palace.”

”Bridget Jones’s Diary” covered a year in a little more than 250 pages. ”Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” runs about a hundred pages longer. And yet, despite reports of Bridget’s travels and notes about a weird, funny-for-Brits jaunt her ”Ab Fab”ish mother takes to Africa, where Mrs. Jones picks up a Kikuyu ”tribesman” as a kind of travel souvenir, the entries cover less inspired terrain, in writing far more exhausted. (”Am wearing leg irons. Am wearing LEG IRONS. Am in stinking Third World cell with eight Thai prostitutes and a potty in the corner….”) ”The Edge of Reason” tells us where Ms. Jones’ legs lead her, but little about why she’s still so afraid to follow her heart. ”Durr.”

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