Friday, February 19, 2016

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Year 8, Day 50 - 2/19/16 - Movie #2,251

BEFORE: Nearly the whole cast of "Bridget Jones's Diary" (nope, that final "s" after the apostrophe still doesn't look right) carries over to the sequel.  So how could I not watch this next?  Ugh, I know I'm going to regret this.  But let's focus on Hugh Grant carrying over because this is his third appearance in a row, and he's my connection to tomorrow's film also.

In the TCM "31 Days of Oscar" line-up for tomorrow, February 20:
Betty Field carries over from "The Southerner" to:
"Picnic" with Kim Novak carrying over to:
"Bell, Book and Candle" with James Stewart carrying over to:
"The Naked Spur" with Janet Leigh carrying over to:
"Bye Bye Birdie" with Bryan Russell carrying over to:
"The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" with Russ Tamblyn carrying over to:
"Father of the Bride" with Spencer Tracy carrying over to:
"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" with Sidney Poitier carrying over to:
"No Way Out" with Richard Widmark carrying over to:
"Judgment at Nuremberg" with Burt Lancaster carrying over to:
"Seven Days in May" with Fredric March carrying over to:
"Anthony Adverse"

 Chalk up another three films that I've seen - "Bye Bye Birdie", "Father of the Bride" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner".  So now I'm up to 70 seen, 157 unseen, with 6 on the watchlist.

THE PLOT:  After finding love, Bridget Jones questions if she really has everything she's dreamed of having.

AFTER: Well, I've come to the conclusion that Bridget Jones is just the British Ally McBeal.  Sorry if this is widely-known and I'm just coming late to the party on this one.  They even have some of the same theme music, like Aretha Franklin and Barry White songs.  And both have been feminist icons for that generation of women that was told that they needed to balance work and relationships if they wanted to "have it all".  

But not a lot changed in "British Ally McBeal"'s life since the first film.   Since it takes place only 8 weeks later, I guess that's to be expected.  Bridget is still madly in love with Mark Darcy, to the point of moony obsessiveness, but she's still wracked with self-doubt to the point where she imagines that she sees signs of his unfaithfulness everywhere.  So it comes as no surprise that the minute she convinces herself that he's having an affair, she bolts without an explanationWell, at least she's consistent, she flies off the handle in every case, jumps to conclusions in both positive and negative directions.  Possibly bi-polar, definitely overly emotional.  

That's when her ex, Daniel Cleaver, shows up again.  Is she destined to spend the rest of her adult life bouncing back and forth between these two former friends and current rivals?  If she's wrong about Mark cheating, though, then isn't SHE the one who went out and cheated?  I mean, I guess she and Mark were on a break, but at the end of the day, which one of them remained faithful?  Oh, yeah, not her.  

What I don't understand is, if women are being all progressive and stuff, and they want and deserve equal rights, and the single progressive women want to be married women, why can't THEY propose?  Why does Bridget automatically revert to the old stereotype that seems to dictate that only men can pop the question?  If she knows that she wants to marry Mark, why does she spend her time waiting for him to ask?  See your future, be your future, reach out and grab it.  

There's a marginal improvement here over the first film, just because there are a few characters who aren't nasty to everyone else near them, all the time.  Some of Bridget's friends actually seem a bit supportive here, instead of just teasing her for her horrible life choices and cooking skills.  And her parents manage to get back together, after the mother's affair with a home-shopping salesman (at least, I think that's what he was).  But Bridget's boss still tries to hit on her and keeps giving her humiliating reporting jobs, Daniel's still a dog and her uncle still tries to grope her at the family holiday party.   

Speaking of that party, a big NITPICK POINT listed on the IMDB - we first see Bridget in this film at her family's annual party, which seems to suggest that it's been a year since she started dating Mark, so her claim of being in a relationship for 8 weeks doesn't seem to make sense.  However, the holiday party seen in the first film was not when she started dating Mark - she had a bad encounter with him there, remember?  Then she started keeping a diary, and we don't really know how much time passes over the course of the first film.  It could be 10 months, let's say, and then at the end when Mark buys her the new diary, it's snowing again, and we could assume that her previous diary is close to full, which could mean the end of the calendar year is approaching.  So, potentially this is not a mistake.  

However, it is a mistake that when skydiving, the plane's altitude is given in feet, not meters, and Daniel also mentions flying several thousand miles to Thailand, not kilometers.   Again, Hollywood screenwriters, the people in the U.K. are on the metric system.  And the people in the U.S. are never, ever going to switch to that system if you keep babying us like this in movie dialogue.

And on a more positive note, in this film, Bridget spends some time in prison.  Too bad it's not for the reasons that I would put her there. 

Also starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Shirley Henderson, Sally Phillips, James Callis, Celia Imrie, James Faulkner, Neil Pearson, Paul Brooke (all carrying over from "Bridget Jones's Diary"), Jacinda Barrett, Ian McNeice (last seen in "White Noise")

RATING: 4 out of 10 massage parlors

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