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Universal Studios Home Video presents
"I have missed you, Jones."
DVD ReviewLight up a Dunhill, don't be stingy with the Chardonnay, and be sure that Ben and Jerry are in town, because she's back, and in a big way. The international multimedia phenomenon that started with Bridget Jones's Diary is ready for its second go-round, and here we are, in a romantic comedy that's essentially an echo of the first. There's not even much of an attempt here to forge new ground, but the setup and characters are still brimming with comic possibilities; even if this frequently feels like something of a retread, Bridget and her boys are very good company indeed.
When last we left our Bridget, she seemed to have found happiness and true love with barrister Mark Darcy; this film picks up six weeks after the conclusion of the first, with Bridget and Mark still giddy with the excitement that comes from the beginning of a relationship. Of course, soon the wheels start to fall off: is Mark having it off with his impossibly tall, rich, beautiful, dangerously young colleague, Rebecca? Things get especially testy when Mark takes Bridget to a professional function, where, to her mind, he lavishes far too much attention on Rebecca; shortly thereafter, after an awful row with Mark, Bridget is off on assignment for her television station with its new star correspondent: her former boss and lover (and Mark's bźte noire), Daniel Cleaver. Their destination is Thailand, and there's nothing like a brew of magic mushrooms, readily available cocaine and omnipresent prostitution to get a girl into trouble.
As that brief overview suggests, there are some elements of this movie that more than strain credulity; an extended sequence with Bridget in a Thai prison is preposterous, though it's got its fair share of jokes. There's sometimes a warmed-over, Frankenstein-like quality to this movie—we've seen Bridget ping pong between Daniel and Mark before, and occasionally it feels as if the film is about nothing more than piling one misfortune after another on to our heroine. (These include parachuting into a pig pen; mortifying herself with Mark on the phone, at his office, and his home; Bridget on skis; Bridget in a corset; and Bridget as the unwitting courier for her best pal's dangerous vacation hookup. Sometimes these are in the interest of pushing along the plot, though frequently they are not.) But the movie is redeemed by a couple of factors: first, lots of the gags are genuinely and very funny, and the film has more than its share of laughs.
More crucial to the movie's success, though, is its game, winning and talented cast. Once again Renée Zellweger has put on her British accent and an extra thirty pounds or so to play the title character; she is charming and funny and self-deprecating, Bridget to a T. The jig is up on Daniel Cleaver, who's an oleaginous player without any pretense here, and Hugh Grant slimily fills out the role. He was so thoroughly discredited in the first film, though, that it's close to impossible to rehabilitate him, even if only for dramatic purposes. Darcy is a more buttoned-down role, but Colin Firth does terrifically well, even without his fair share of punch lines. Any boyfriend or husband can empathize with him when he walks into a room, sees Bridget's face, and without a word from her, knows there's a crisis: "Oh, Christ. What now?"
Getting even less to do than the first time out are Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones, as Bridget's parents; and memorable in a small turn as Rebecca is Real World veteran Jacinda Barrett. This isn't a brilliantly inventive movie, but something tells me we haven't yet seen the last of Bridget Jones, and no doubt we'll welcome her back with a hearty hello and a good, strong cocktail.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B
Image Transfer Review: Solid, professional transfer; London has been given the full romantic treatment here, and it does look like a wonderland.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: Lots of action on the audio track, which is loaded with voice over and many musical gags; it's well balanced on the 5.1 track.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bad Girls from Valley High, Meet the Fockers, Joey, Will & Grace
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Beeban Kidron
Kidron also provides intros for each of the three deleted scenes (10m:14s altogether), which includes an alternate opening, and a sequence full of heartbreak, of Bridget and Mark, on the outs, standing as godparents to their friends' new baby. The first featurette (04m:54s) is a look at The Big Fight between Mark and Daniel, their Rumble in the Jungle to the first film's Thrilla in Manila. Mark and BridgetForever features on-set interviews with Zellweger, Firth, Kidron and Barrett; Lonely London (03m:11s) is a look at the signature, CGI-enhanced shot, Bridget's lowest moment. Self-referentiality goes to a new level when Bridget interviews Colin Firth (05m:04s), and their principal subject is the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice in which Firth starred, as Darcy, and inspired novelist Helen Fielding when writing the first Bridget Jones book. So what you've got here is a character (Bridget) interviewing the actor (Firth) who played a character (Darcy) who inspired a character (Mark Darcy), now played by that same actor, in conversation with the character with whom his character is involved. Got that?
You'll also find brief biographies for the lead actors and above-the-line behind-the-scenes talent; the quartet of trailers runs when you first pop in the DVD. Finally, there's an option to watch the movie with a quiz, designed to help you figure out which man is for you; you can also take the quiz straight through after the fact. I can honestly say I have never before contemplated most of the questions asked of me here—for instance: "Your boyfriend leaves you stranded in the middle of the night. What do you do?" Curiously, my response of choice—hope that he doesn't wake up my wife—does not appear as either Option A, B, or C.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsIt doesn't quite measure up to its predecessor—few sequels do, after all—but this second time around the block with Bridget Jones and her men has more than its share of genuinely funny moments, even if the plot often feels a bit contrived and forced.
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