(out of 5)
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time: Renee Zellweger‘s performance as Bridget Jones in the 2001 comedy classic was so effortlessly charming at capturing an awkward woman who never can find her rhythm that it inspired marvelous box office returns and made a sequel an inevitability (not that the American press noticed her charm, since it only concentrated on the fact that she ate an extra pizza slice every day and gained three pounds). Unfortunately, instead of developing Jones’s evolution from independent woman to independently-minded girlfriend, this mishmash of a comedy is just an excuse to repeat all the funniest bits of the original, and not nearly as well. Bridget has now been dating Colin Firth‘s uptight Mark Darcy for six weeks, and in that time has developed a deep insecurity about their differences: she keeps embarrassing him at his important lawyer functions, while also noticing that a gorgeous barrister (Jacinda Barrett) keeps hanging around him in the most suspicious manner. Complicating things even further is the reappearance of the caddish Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), who is now a television journalist assigned to work with Bridget on a travel show that takes them to Thailand for a most original working vacation experience. Sharon Maguire’s energetic, pitch-perfect direction from the original has been replaced by Beeban Kidron’s vulgar concentration on fat jokes: did anyone else notice that in the first one Bridget only mentions her weight in her diary? Nobody external said anything about it except the American villainess in Daniel’s bathroom the last time around, and yet in this film it’s the only thing that anyone, including Bridget, can talk about. Zellweger remains at the top of her game, but the screenplay is a terrible mess and constantly undermines her work, while the best characters from the original (Bridget’s three best friends and her spotty parents) are terribly underused.
Directed by Beeban Kidron
Cinematography by Adrian Biddle
Production Design by Gemma Jackson
Costume Design by Jany Temime
Film Editing by Greg Hayden