13 November 2004 | WheresTheMoon
Disappointment = not a strong enough word.
First, the positives Colin and Hugh are still hitting their marks. Even though he might not know why, Mark positively adores Bridget. Colin gets that and twinkles, melts and warms in all the right places. Same goes for Daniel he's drawn to his Bridge for some inexplicable reason. Hugh Grant really ought to be looking for a patent for that mojo he works so well. All of the original actors are back as Bridget's parents and her "dating war command" of pals and all have a natural, easy chemistry that works. But, the negatives, they are a-plenty.
Biggest problem here was the complete tone change. In the first film, we were on the ride with Bridget...seeing things through her eyes, groaning as she put her foot in her mouth again and cheering for her to finally get it right. However, in this movie, it feels like someone stuck her up on a stage and spent 2 hours throwing pies and tomatoes at her cause it seemed real cool. She's not in on the joke here, she IS the joke. Her few extra pounds are no longer just a part of the package they are the end-all of her worth as a person. It feels like the folks behind this film don't even LIKE the character they just think it's real cool to humiliate her as often as possible. It doesn't even look like they bothered to send Renee to makeup or wardrobe she (as Bridget) was pleasantly plump in the first film, but never dowdy. The character is downright frumpy in this movie with a perpetual case of bed head and clothes that look like castoffs from Mayberry. And Renee plays into it with her acting choices Bridget was frazzled in the first movie but still retained her dignity most of the time. She's a perpetual victim in this one, though, and even though Renee is still cute as a button and incredibly endearing, some of Bridget's spark is gone.
What happens after the happy ending? Couple realizes that they are each real, flawed people. And the movie makes it seem like Mark is at that point never tries to change Bridget, never gets angry and her constant mishaps amuse more than annoy. But, as each of Bridget's tantrums unfolded, I kept asking myself why in the WORLD the man was still there. Bridget's keen on him but doesn't trust him. She likes to be with him but is suspicious of his actions without any real cause. Now, we know she's an insecure character and feels like she's not classy enough to fit into his world. And if the movie built from that, maybe we'd have a different story. But the obstacles they face are external. The characters never make decisions on their own something or someone else makes them feel a certain way or forces them into a course of action that decides what will happen next. And Bridget's reactions almost make it seem like somehow, over the course of the last 'six weeks', she's regressed to a girl in the schoolyard stomping her feet when her boyfriend does something she doesn't like.
Another problem the utter lack of subtlety. Why include one fat joke when 3 or 4 plus a butt shot can fit into the scene? Why spend most of the movie dropping hints about a reveal when you can beat the audience over the head with it in one of the final scenes? Why have Daniel make one joke about stealing Mark's wife when he can drop another one 30 minutes later? Oh look, matching Christmas jumpers how cute. Most of the funny in this movie comes from certain 'episodes' as opposed to the dialogue. I loved the ski trip and Bridget's 'magic mushrooms' in Thailand. But, when the characters are actually talking to each other, they just aren't that funny. Most of the jokes are reruns from the first movie that feel stale. The naughty jokes are kicked up a notch but everyone in my packed theater, including me, either grimaced or sat stone-faced through most of them. Note to filmmakers: dirty has to actually BE funny to be funny.
This feels like a movie about a woman made by men who think wet clothes, girl-on-girl action and butt close-ups get it done. I read some interviews that said that Renee would only do a second film if it took care of Bridget and held up the standards of the first. I almost wonder if someone slid her this script on the first day of shooting as a rewrite once she'd already signed on the dotted line. This felt like a bleached, harsher version of the first the warmth is gone. I know there was a different director and I really don't think the new kid gets why Bridget was/is such a phenomenon. As much as I was looking forward to this film, I wish they'd never done it.
Oh, and also, as a P.S. if I was a Thai woman right now, I'd be suing Working Title and Miramax for defamation of character for their version of 'Fun with Stereotypes'.