You’d think that female circumcision in Africa would be more of a hot button issue than some British broad’s problems with her weight, but if you can name a women’s rag that makes mention of Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé, I can probably give you 100 others that have allotted precious copy to Renée Zellweger’s waistline. “Another year, another diary,” declares Bridget Jones in Edge of Reason, which takes place some six weeks after the conclusion of 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. About as witless and original as its predecessor, Edge of Reason is less a film than a series of non-stop embarrassments set to a sunny soundtrack. Watch out, there’s even a shot of Zellweger’s ass spiraling toward the camera! It’s an aesthetic formula that quickly grows tiresome, but it’s certainly not as devastating as the near identical premise of both films. Though Bridget is now dating (and happily shagging—over and over and over again) Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), she still struggles to figure out if he’s a prick. From society dinners to impromptu visits to Mark’s office, Bridget unfailingly makes a complete fool of herself at every turn, and after one too many fuck-ups (“I am totally fucked!” indicates one of the many graphics that pop-up on the screen throughout the film), fatty cakes bounces a few bon mots off the wall with her trio of eccentric best friends, shares an intimate moment with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and begins to fall for the sleazy Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) all over again! There’s a wonderful scene between Zellweger and Firth’s character inside a ski lodge that would have us believe that the audience-pandering Edge of Reason has more than body fat on its mind, but while it seems that Bridget’s troubles with Mark have a lot to do with their pained class difference, the reality here is that Bridget is her own worst enemy. The woman’s spectacle of self-deprecation is truly the epitome of egoism, and nowhere is this more shamelessly on display than when she lands inside a Thai women’s prison for trying to smuggle cocaine out of the country (accidentally, of course). Inside a jail cell overcrowded with local women, Bridget—a TV journalist, remember—could feasibly shoot a piece on the situation and win that elusive Pulitzer Prize she makes mention of at one point, but instead the filmmakers choose to have Bridget make a mockery of the women around her. Announcing that her romantic imbroglios are more important than whatever troubles these prostitutes and battered women have been through, director Beeban Kidron allows Bridget to show her cellmates how to sing “Like A Virgin” on key. A sad reaffirmation of just how fractured the female experience in the world is, this inhumane scene outwardly attempts to unite women via the lyrics of a song that scarcely preaches feminist unity. In the end, it succeeds only in applauding a materialistic, self-absorbed audience’s pop-cultural cheekiness, reducing women to sex objects and widening a cultural rift between a tossed-aside Third World and the patronizing white other.
- Beeban Kidron
- Adam Brooks, Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding
- Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Jacinda Barrett, Sally Phillips, James Callis, Shirley Henderson
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