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Renee shows Bridget the money!

Arthur J Pais | November 19, 2004 15:29 IST

Renee ZellwegerRenee Zellweger put on 20 pounds again to play the neurotic, clumsy, overweight, yet lovable singleton and the new movie Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason looks like it may devour a bigger chunk of box-office receipts than it's original.

And in doing so, the new film would be going against the tradition of sequels making less money than its predecessors. The first film, made for about $40 million, grossed $280 million worldwide.

Though the plot this time seems far more contrived than in the first film, and the jokes half-hearted, the $70 million movie started its journey with a roar and is holding on very well midweek. It grossed about $19 million in the UK over the weekend, with about $6 million of it from previews held the previous week. The film, which was playing in just about 500 movie houses in North America last week, snagged a strong $6 million. This weekend, it is adding about 2,000 screens.

The new film is directed by Beeban Kidron (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) who sticks closely to the formula created by her predecessor, Sharon Maguire, but she certainly lacks her effervescent touch.

We find Bridget (Zellweger) where we left her in the previous film, in the arms of dashing lawyer Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Mark seems to understand her jealousies and insecurities, fueled this time by the presence of his attractive intern (Jacinda Barrett), but Bridget is getting increasingly insecure and lonely.

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Suddenly, the Christmas season begins to lose its appeal to Bridget, who finds it more difficult than ever to acknowledge that she has been doing rather well, despite her occasional misadventures, as a television journalist.

And just when the waters get choppier, Bridget's former boss, charming womaniser Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) comes into view, leading her into further confusion.

Jealous pals Shazza (Sally Philips), Jude (Shirley Henderson) and Tom (James Callis) are experts at giving her wrong advice. So Bridget dumps Mark during a troubled ski vacation in Switzerland, and joins Daniel, now a travel show host, on a business trip to Thailand.

In more serious trouble this time, Bridget ends up in a Thai jail, accused of drug smuggling.

The prison scenes in which Bridget leads a group of hookers in singing Like a Virgin may amuse many, but the scenes are the weakest in the film. And yet if the sequence appeals, it is mostly because Zellweger can turn even a ridiculous scene into something tolerably watchable.

There is hardly any performance to match Zellweger's. Grant has much less to do this time, but does offer some charm. Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones as Bridget's parents are wasted.



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