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Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason / By B. Kidron /
Tchaikovsky Cultural Center 
I’m not the biggest fan of chick flicks. I didn’t see the first Bridget Jones movie (“Bridget Jones’ Diary”), but counting myself as one of the many Russian-deficient cineastes in Moscow who are always starving for the next English-language movie to come out on theatres, I just had to make an exception. After all, with the sheer amount of advertising this movie received in posters, postcards, and billboards, I just had to give it a chance and find out if it was worth all the hype.

I’m very glad that I did.

It certainly was the biggest premiere that I’ve ever seen in America Cinema, one that made use of every available seat in the theatre. You can thank the massive amount of publicity of course, but you can also thank the strength of its built-in audience from the books and the first film. And besides, this movie was good, especially for a chick flick!

Set a couple of months after BJD, the movie continues to follow the life and happenings of Bridget Jones, played by Renee Zellweger. It’s a new phase in Bridget’s life, so it begins with a new entry in her celebrated diary. Having discovered true love with the man of her dreams in Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), throughout the movie she finds herself having to contend with Mark’s “high-flyer” status and social circle, all the while slowly losing the hope of him asking for her hand in marriage.

While Mark’s career as a Human Rights lawyer is quickly rising, Bridget is struggling with more degrading assignments as a TV journalist. She finds herself losing the battle in competing with Mark’s colleague Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett) for quality time, and is later sent off to Thailand to meet with Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her former boss and boyfriend. Laughs are long and loud in the Thai scenes, especially Bridget’s first time encounter with mushrooms… Magic!

Such as how it would be in a diary, Bridget’s life seems to progress in a narrative of episodic fashion, finding herself caught in one comedic situation after another. Depending on your experience in knowing people like Bridget, these situations can either be looked at as genuinely hilarious or hilariously genuine. In the midst of laughing at her creating many embarrassing moments for herself, I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her misfortune and admiration for the way that she continues to plug away, despite her many obstacles and shortcomings.

The problem with this format is that each occurrence in Bridget’s life is actually just a plot device that perpetuates the story and acts as some sort of comedic/dramatic foreshadowing. Even the least sophisticated of viewers will realize the divinely inspired purpose of Bridget’s drug bust in Bangkok, and how the subsequent events will conveniently wrap it all up in one cute package worthy of the indefatigable Bridget. The Force is strong with this one…

Plot considerations aside, the film stands well from excellent direction, soundtrack, and performances. Even with the Mushrooms Scene, the movie manages to retain its hilarity without reaching “American Pie” standards. Credit director Beeban Kidron, especially for the ease in which uninitiated viewers (like me) can easily get immersed into this special world. In addition, the soundtrack fits flawlessly, provided mainly by female artists – augmenting Bridget’s strength in her femininity.

Finally, the performances were absolutely outstanding, especially from the leads. It’s cool to see Hugh Grant relish his return as the sniveling scoundrel in Cleaver, and Firth delivers yet again another masterful performance, this time as the fastidious Mark. Ultimate honors go to Zellweger though, for playing the title character in what seems to be a role made with her in mind. Her charisma easily shines throughout while playing the plump and plucky Bridget; one can easily see what makes her so especially desirable to these men, despite her intended unattractiveness.

Bridget is a girl who’s in her mid-30’s and hopelessly in love, the type of woman that exists strictly in the fictional universe. Indeed, if there were such a thing as a Bleeding Hearts Fan Club, she would be its president. I can sense in myself that the thing I found most appealing in her character was the thought that despite her numerous failures in the realm of love and romance, her indomitable spirit allowed her to continue baring her heart and soul with each romantic affair. This might not be a novel approach in romantic comedies, but certainly one made easily believable by the writing and performance of the Bridget Jones character. I had this warm and inviting impression throughout the movie, and I couldn’t help but sport a wistful smile even after the movie finished.

I’m still not a fan of chick flicks, but you can count me in as a fan of Bridget Jones.

23.11.04
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