Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Renee Zellweger is a plus-size talent, but there is no fun to be had in watching her reprise the role of British "singleton" Bridget Jones in a consistently crass sequel that would have to go some to cut it as a bad American sitcom. Much has been made of Zellweger packing on twenty pounds. The stunt paid off in 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary because Zellweger, sporting a spot-on Brit accent, found the smarts and the sass in a self-hating reporter who learned to be comfortable in her own skin. The joke was on us for thinking otherwise.

In Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, based on Helen Fielding's feeble follow-up novel, the joke is all on Bridget. When she believes, falsely, that her lawyer love Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) is cheating, the face-stuffing commences: "Estimated weight," she writes in her diary, "4,000 pounds." Is it the clumsy script or the switch in directors — Beeban Kidron in for Sharon Maguire — that has sucked out the charm of the original and replaced it with crude pratfalls and enough shag gags to stuff the next three Austin Powers movies? Against all odds, Hugh Grant gets laughs as Daniel, the chubby-chaser with a fetish for Bridget's huge white panties. But by the time Bridget lands in a Thailand jail and joins a singalong with hookers who think the Madonna lyric is really "Like a virgin/Fucked for the very first time," the movie has degenerated into a desperate dung heap. Who knew the mirthless scene in which Bridget sky-dives into a pig sty would sum up the whole movie?

From The Archives Issue 266: June 1, 1978