In the first movie, Bridget Jones (Renee Zellwegger) learned that she could be loved just as she was. Now she has to figure out whether she can love herself.
As the sequel begins, she has had six blissful weeks with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the man of her dreams. But happily ever after does not work for movies, so something has to go wrong.
Bridget’s fears about her own inadequacy lead her to break up with Mark just as who should show up as the latest addition to her television news program, but Daniel (Hugh Grant), still the all-but-irresistible bad boy who knows just what Bridget wants to hear. When they are assigned to work together on a travel piece about Thailand, Daniel expresses an interest in Bridget and her giant panties. Bridget will have to choose between two men and two notions of herself.
And along the way she will do all the Bridget things we love to see, mostly meaning making a fool of herself by squeezing into a too-tight dress, speaking out at the wrong time, or managing to give the camera a close-up of her rear end.
In other words, this is pretty much the same movie as the first, but both the heroine and her story have lost a good deal of their charm.
What we loved about Bridget was the spirited way she took on the world. Bridget may have been clumsy, physically and socially, but she had so much heart that we, like Mark, loved her just the way she was. Not so much anymore, no matter how much we want to. She comes across as not just graceless but thoughtless and careless. Either because of its own insecurity about the appeal of its heroine or an effort to up the fantasy ante, the film keeps telling us how much EVERYONE loves Bridget. But that is not the same as making us love her.
The incidents in the film are just repetitions of the first (discussions of large panties, ugly Christmas sweaters, completely inept Mark/Daniel fight scene) or outlandish variations that fall a little flat. In a particularly outlandish development, a Midnight Express/Brokedown Palace plot twist lands Bridget in a Thai jail, accused of cocaine smuggling. There is simply no way to handle a scene like this in a romantic comedy, and the efforts to make Bridget’s prison experience endearing by having her loan out her Wonderbra and teach her cellmates to sing Madonna songs are a little creepy.
Firth, Grant, and Zellwegger are always a pleasure to watch, the script has some funny moments, and it’s always nice to see Bridget find a way to a happy ending. But what would have made this one a happier ending for all of us is if they just let her keep the first one, just as it was.
Parents should know that the movie has explicit sexual references and situations including prostitution and a pregnancy scare, very strong language, a great deal of drinking and smoking, hallucinogenic mushrooms, a character who is a drug dealer, and a lot of very irresponsible behavior handled in a light-hearted fashion with not much by way of consequences. There is some comic violence.
Families who see this movie should talk about why it was hard for Bridget to trust Mark’s feelings for her. They should also talk about the problems Bridget encountered in Thailand.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the first movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral.