Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
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Diary entry: recapping another year in the life of Bridget Jones.
Lesbian kiss: one. Prison stay: one. Pounds lost: minus one. Proposals: one. I found my happy ending at last. I truly believe in happiness ... even when you’re 33 and have a bottom the size of two bowling balls.
But that all comes later.
Six months after the last entry in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Britain’s favorite bottom-heavy television broadcaster is back—bold, brassy and bumbling as ever. She's settled down with human-rights lawyer Mark Darcy, content as a cat with a bowl of (booze-laced) cream. The two seem headed for committed bliss until Rebecca, Mark’s sleek and beautiful co-worker, starts sniffing around, threatening to tip their bowl over.
Bridget’s well-chronicled insecurities come fully into play as Rebecca’s every whispered word to Mark, every touch of his shirt sleeve, is blown out of proportion. Prodded by her trio of relationship-clueless mates, Bridget becomes fully convinced Mark and Rebecca are having an affair. Her jealous confrontation leads to a messy breakup.
Cue the diarist’s caddish ex-boss/ex-lover Daniel Cleaver. Fate seems to throw Bridget into temptation’s way when her employer decides to increase audience share by making her Daniel's co-host on his globe-trotting television program. Will our rebounding heroine be able to survive the wiles of the charming womanizer while on the breathtaking shores of Thailand? Will she and Mark ever realize how much they truly love each other?
In all her insecurities, Bridget never quite despairs of finding a love that transcends newness and mystery. Deep down, she knows that love without commitment always falters in the harsh light of the discovery of each other’s flaws and neurosis ("You find the right man and then you find out all that's wrong with him, and then he finds out all that's wrong with you").
She often doesn’t follow through on her noble first intentions, but Bridget does spend a lot of diary time pledging to never settle for second best. On one notable occasion, however, she manages to keep her eye on the prize, eschewing Daniel's offer for a “weekend shagathon.” She counts the consequences, and decides to protect her relationship with Mark.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones set a good example for their daughter by renewing their vows, thus modeling forgiveness and committed love (after being separated by an affair in the first film).
Thrown into a Thai prison after unknowingly carrying drugs through customs, Bridget tells her story of woe about losing Mark’s love. As her fellow inmates share their own boyfriend horror stories of forced prostitution, violent abuse and drug addictions, Bridget realizes how petty her own problems are in light of their plight.
As in the first installment of this story, Bridget's emotional and mental triumph over her less-than-Hollywood-perfect body is inspirational. Similarly, Mark's expressed adoration of even her "wobbly bits" shows that real men—especially those who've found true love—aren't as obsessed with magazine-cover looks as we've all been told. Mark’s love for Bridget is also evident in his infinite patience, understanding and forgiveness of her social bumbles and relationship fumbles.
Daniel jokes about the fate faced by early Christians during a live broadcast at the Colosseum.
"Shag" talkin’ is rampant, both on and off the pages of Bridget’s diary. Bridget highlights the fact that she considers Mark a “sex-god,” and is outspoken about their hyperactive sex life (“71 shags in six weeks,” she says). Friends frequently discuss the art and politics of fooling around. Daniel rarely talks about anything without injecting some sort of sexual innuendo. A joke is made about children engaging in group masturbation, as is a vulgar reference to oral sex. One of the background songs, “Let’s Get It On,” provides a lyrical come-on.
While the sex-talk far outweighs onscreen action, the two co-stars are seen in a few pre- and post-coital clutches. Unlike Vol. 1, though, nudity is restricted to paintings in an art gallery. (When Bridget drops a bed sheet from around her bare body to show herself to Mark, the camera sees only her head and shoulders.) Bridget does dress for sexual impact, alternatively donning see-through blouses and low-cut dresses. Audiences also see her underwear. Daniel is filmed on location at a massage parlor with only a towel around his waist. Bridget’s pseudo-uncle gropes her bottom. A Thai prisoner exposes Bridget’s red bra, then barters for it with cigarettes (she puts it on over her shirt). Bridget teaches her inmates the words and choreography to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”; they come up with an explicit lyric revision (“f---ing for the very first time”).
Homosexuality further mars the sexual landscape of this already-promiscuous film. Bridget bounces back from an unexpected (yet lingering) lesbian kiss by telling her admirer, “I’m afraid it’s still men in general, Mark Darcy in particular that I love. But if I ever decide to punt for the other side, there’s no one for me but you.” Daniel flippantly refers to a sexual encounter involving a "young" Thai girl who wasn't really a girl, and another with “that boy in fifth grade.”
Bridget’s physical foibles include no fewer than three face plants, leaving her countenance covered in everything from sand to snow to pig manure. Mark and Daniel chase each other, push each other and come to blows over Bridget.
Crude or Profane Language
Bridget Jones 2 is full of British and American profanity and vulgarity. The names of Christ, God and the Lord are taken in vain several times. There are more than two-dozen uses of the f-word, once in conjunction with God’s “bloody” name. The phrase, “I am totally f---ed” jumps off a diary page and scrolls across the screen for added emphasis. The Brit counterpart to the f-word, “shag,” is used repeatedly, usually in reference to the physical act. Add to that a scriptful of milder profanities and harsher, vulgar references to male and female anatomy.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Bridget has a serious addiction to cigarettes, and she smokes throughout the film despite several pledges to quit (her resolutions never last more than a few minutes). Other characters also do their part to cloud the air. Champagne and chardonnay flow freely, and Bridget is rarely seen without a glass in her hand.
Drugs, absent from the first film, make a startling entrance when Bridget unwittingly partakes in a “special lunch” spiced with magic mushrooms. Instead of rebuking her guilty “friends,” she accepts the consequences—mild hallucinations and euphoria—in comic stride. Daniel, never missing a chance to encourage bad behavior, tells her, “You’re charming on drugs. In future, just say yes!”
Bridget is later duped into packing an unsuspecting friend’s drug-filled “fertility snake bowl” in her luggage as she leaves Thailand, and gets busted at the airport.
Other Negative Elements
Daniel is a class-A cad; that is, trademark Hugh Grant to an exponential power. He has zero compunction about deceiving Bridget to get back into her "giant panties," as he affectionately calls them. The ever-gullible Bridget believes him when he tells her he’s in “shag therapy,” and is no longing chasing every skirt in sight. Later, he tries to seduce her by telling her she’s his answer to therapy. He further proves himself a man without a conscience by glibly referring to his adulterous affair with Mark’s ex.
Bridget lies and tells Mark she’s an experienced skier when he invites her on a weekend trip to the slopes, but she pays the consequences in spades, to the great amusement of spectators.
Bridget Jones has to be one of Hollywood’s most lovable sinners. Women especially relate to her weight struggles, insecurities, clumsiness and undaunted search for love. Her story resonates with anyone who’s ever wondered if love comes in size 14, or struggled with food or substance addictions.
Many grapple as she does with today’s compromising sexual ethics. In her review of Bridget Jones's Diary, Lindy (Beam) Keffer wrote, “Partially because she’s a victim of her culture and partially because of her own stupid choices, Bridget has the idea that one ought to begin a relationship with sex and bother with the details (like love and commitment) later. ... Thoughts of marriage cross her mind several times. But they’re quickly replaced by the more ‘realistic’ notion that permanency is not a viable expectation in relationships today.”
In this sequel, Bridget grows in self-esteem as she makes a few more solid moral choices and is nurtured by Mark's patient, steadfast love. Once it finally dawns on her that yes, she is worthy of marriage, she embraces her promising future with every ounce of her being. Her greatest delight is in relishing the fact that Mark loves her just the way she is.
God is like that. Regardless of where we’re at in our earthly relationships, regardless of how “unworthy” we feel, He reaches out to us with unconditional love and offers us a promising future. And we don’t have to lose weight or quit smoking before He’ll love us.
If Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason hadn't spent so much time blasting audiences with boorish British banter and universal depictions of immorality, it could have led more of us to question what voices are speaking into the diaries of our own lives. Imagine how differently Bridget's would have read if, instead of a trio of well-meaning friends as lost and confused as she was, she had one friend willing to tell her the Truth.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones; Colin Firth as Mark Darcy; Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver; Gemma Jones as Mrs. Jones; Jim Broadbent as Mr. Jones
Beeban Kidron ( )