Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

“I spent the night with a gorgeous Thai girl who turned out to be a gorgeous Thai boy!”

Rich’s Rating: Girls Are Weird 2: Electric Boogaloo

Rich’s Review: Those of you with an obsessive personality and a strangely retentive mind might remember that in previous reviews, one of my biggest concerns with writing for MRFH is that somewhere in the bowels of Blockbuster HQ is a file with my name on which reads “This guy rents really, really bad movies”. Of course, I don’t rent bad movies for my own personal enjoyment — I do it for you, the humble MRFH reader. I suffer, so you don’t have to. But will the suits at Blockbuster understand my sacrifice? I suspect not.

Recently, however, that fear has given way to a larger and more insidious anxiety. I’m now becoming increasingly convinced that the staff at Cineworld UK are convinced that I want to be a girl. I don’t, I swear — I’ve just been going to a lot of girly movies recently, mainly because I’ve been going with a girl. But since I’ve yet to put my foot down and drag my date off to see some macho-fest like Blade: Trinity, I am instead (I’m sure) becoming increasingly known as “that guy who watches girl films”. If Cineworld and Blockbuster ever merge, my reputation is ruined for sure, and I will be hunted down, locked into a small cubicle, and forced to watch Bring It On Again over and over until I can perform all the routines in it and enjoy doing so.

The most recent incarnation of this cinematic equivalent of shoe shopping I have been exposed to has been Bridget Jones, who seems to be the poster girl for most of the women I know, and whose original film decorates the video and DVD shelves of absolutely every woman I can think of with the exception of my sister, who is already a Smug Married and therefore can get away with not owning it. I’d read the books at the insistence of an old friend, and found myself enjoying them, despite desperately not wanting to in order to maintain my macho façade. I’d watched the first film as a curiosity really, to see how it had translated from the book, and had found myself enjoying parts of it in spite of myself.

So, when my new lady friend suggested we go see The Edge Of Reason, she was pleasantly surprised that she didn’t have to drag a yes out of me, and that I was willing to inflict it upon myself without coercion. In hindsight, I should probably have allowed myself to be coerced, because I found the sequel to be a much more tepid and girly affair than the first.

The film charts another year in the life of Bridget Jones, 30-something neurotic insecure woman obsessed with finding a boyfriend and drinking copious amounts of red wine. Despite everything being rosy for her at the end of the first film, it doesn’t take long for Bridget to screw her life up again in all manner of new and interesting ways. In fact, the majority of this film seems to be a blatant demonstration that once you reach a happy place in your life you should under no circumstances be allowed to talk to or even see your other half for fear of saying something that will forever destroy any chance you have of happiness and leave you drunk and depressed in an empty apartment singing old sad songs with a hairbrush.

Of course, it’s not just relationship issues that can be messed up — oh no. After the sedentary pace set in the original Bridget Jones Diary, she ups the stakes in this one by messing up her career as well, and then quite spectacularly landing herself in some serious hot water (not literally, that’s a different film) by the half-way mark.

The trouble is that by the time we had reached that point of the film, I had reached the point where I just wanted to grab Bridget, shake her by the shoulders and tell her to sort her life out and stop being such a ditz. I know that emotionally, this film isn’t really targeted at me, much in the same way that Rambo isn’t targeted at the twenty-something female audience; but while the first film managed to disguise the soppy emotional stuff under a layer of humour that everyone could appreciate. Unfortunately, in the sequel that layer seems to have been stripped away to allow more screen time for people to get misty eyed over Colin Firth and go all goey and slushy at the romantic bits. Now, I’m all for romance, but I think I’ll just sit here and look at my popcorn while my cynical heart goes into arrest due to Sugary Sweet Film overdose.

As it stands, I doubt I will be rushing to see Edge of Reason again any time, well, ever. I came out feeling like somehow two hours had just passed me by without anything really happening, which is never a good sign when you’re leaving a film. However, from the slushy reaction my date gave it (and the fact that she went back to see it a further two times) I would guess that if soppy romances with a dash of comedy are your thing, then you’ve probably seen this film already — and if you haven’t, you should.

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