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Your February Random Movie Club Results Are In!

Tagline: Same Bridget. Brand new diary.

Pizza: Spark Woodfire Pizza

Preshow Entertainment: CBS and NBC promos for their 1968 and 1969 seasons.


Who said sequels are never better than the originals? Was it you? Or you, or you?? Because if you did, you were right; sequels, with very few exceptions, don't measure up, and BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON (2004) is undeniably a wonderful example.

"Everyone knows that diaries are just full of crap," Bridget herself declared at the end of the first movie, BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY (2001). Even the tagline for this movie alludes to the word 'shit' ("Same Bridget. Brand new diary."), yet the powers that be created a sequel anyway. At least in the first movie her diary was a plot point, for not only did she use it to start her new life, but it was also nearly her undoing when the man she loved read things in it that weren't meant for him to see. In the sequel, however, the diary is simply a canny excuse for wall-to-wall voiceover. Sadly, that's not the only difference between these two films. BJD was a funny and charming movie, as warm and cozy as your favorite stuffed animal, and it featured the age-old slam-dunk of female empowerment. No such luck with BJ: TEOR, which peels away everything that made the first one so likable and reduces Bridget to a whining baby who stands for (and up for) nothing.

But at least they kept the secret weapon - Renee Zellweger. She just about saved this poor excuse of a script from drowning by her head-to-toe embodiment of Bridget, an insecure, slightly gullible girl trapped in the roly poly body (The Zell famously added poundage for the role) of a dust-yourself-off woman. Bridget is trying to make sense of love the exact same way we all do - by making mistakes. The big difference is that Bridget has no real thought-to-mouth filter.

The entire cast in this rerun is also back (as is the return of Bridget's granny panties), and if you look closely in the opening credits, they bring you up to speed; hearts are attached to Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth's names, while Hugh Grant's has a devil's trident.


EDGE takes place only six weeks after the original, and plays out entirely in Safe Mode. Even the opening is a clone of the original, with Bridget on her way to her mum's for a get-together featuring turkey curry. Bridget is as ecstatic as a schoolgirl, bragging about her new man, human rights lawyer Mark Darcy (Firth), with super-cad Daniel Cleaver (Grant) nowhere in sight. Things are just perfect! And that's the problem, for both comedy and drama are injected so forcefully that Bridget's situations are either preposterous or they just die right before our eyes.
Worse, there's such a disconnect that the film feels like a series of vaudeville vignettes, there just to display something goofy or show someone making a bad conclusion in the hope of achieving something funny. This is often done using dishonest filmmaking by director Beeban Kidron, like not telling us things we'd know if we were in the room. But Bridget is in the room; did the camera angle fool her as well? What I'm getting at is that the whole movie is hung on misunderstandings and people making wrong conclusions...and no one ever attempts to say or do anything to fix them. It's like watching Lucy Ricardo. Beeban! You got lots of splaining to do!

I don't want to get drunk, but if you do (and I mean, really, really smashed), here's how. Every time there's dialogue followed by a smashcut to a reversal of that statement, knock one back. You know, like this: DANIEL: "The view from my balcony. Perhaps you'd like to come and take a look?" BRIDGET: "Absolutely not." SMASHCUT TO: Daniel and Bridget on the balcony. And it's endless, like when she's on her way to the law council dinner, BRIDGET (VO): "The most important thing of course is to look absolutely wonderful and make a wonderful entrance." CUT TO: Bridget with makeup misapplied to her face due to the car bumping as she was applying it. And on the broken heels of arriving at the chic dinner looking like The Joker; "Alright, tiny makeup mistake. But I always have wit and conversation to fall back on." Guess what happens next.

Also, I kept asking myself this - just how many times can Mark put up with her constant faux pas without walking (or running) away? First she says saucy things to Mark while unknowingly on his speakerphone with a bunch of lawyers and diplomats (why did he take the call in the first place, or at very least, not tell her she's on speakerphone?). Later, when she thinks he's cheating on her with his assistant Rebecca (Jacinda Barrett, who I'm pretty sure wants me), Bridget, covered in leaves and dirt from trying to spy through the windows, yet again walks into a room...with lawyers and diplomats. Worst, we're miles (kilometers, I suppose) ahead of the gags. She may not know what happens next, but we sure do. The ridiculous number of times these "set 'em up to knock 'em down" bits treats us like rodents in a Skinner box.

Bridget and Friends
The movie also comes equipped (as did the first movie) with standard yappy know-it-all "movie" friends, including chick flick requisite - the gay guy. Why she listens to them is beyond me. But that's just one small "why" in a sea of whys, like - why does Bridget even like Mark Darcy? Unless she saw the Oscar on his mantel. Though he seems a nice enough guy, he's a bit of a boring sod. And why doesn't everyone love Bridget? She's actually a pretty cool person. Yet nearly everyone in the movie seems to have something to say about her. And if she mistrusts Darcy so much (and so often), why does she want to marry him?


So there it is. Director Kidron and her four writers made a terribly unsatisfying movie, failing to capture the frivolity of the original. Because of this, Bridget is often a puling sadsack who yaps incessantly, and that just makes her borderline annoying. Yet, in the interest of full honesty, I really did like Zellweger's bouncy performance of a character who, depending on the situation, can be daffy or smart. Weak or strong. Vulnerable or defiant. Yep, I understood Bridget just fine. Maybe it has something to do with me being a pudgy, puling sadsack who yaps incessantly and is borderline annoying.


Preshow Entertainment: CBS and NBC promos for their 1968 and 1969 seasons

Oh do I love this stuff. We should watch these more often. And since I am the king of this club, then so it shall be done.

There were network promos for shows I've heard of, like MAYBERRY R.F.D., and some I haven't, like LANCER, about two sons who are not only opposites, but each didn't know that the other existed. Also on the reel, THE GOOD GUYS starring Bob Denver, Herb Edelman and Joyce Van Patten. The sitcom for BLONDIE looked just awful. The pilot for HAWAII FIVE-0, a series that ran for 12 years (let's see the new version do that!) was represented as well. CBS called the campaign "The Winner's Circle."

The NBC reel featured MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT, about a cartoonist who imagines scenarios that aren't really there. Next up, Michael Parks in THEN CAME BRONSON (I remember the Mad Magazine parody), a loner biker who doesn't know, or care, where he's going next. Ah, the sixties. BRACKEN'S WORLD starred the great Eleanor Parker. Also featured, THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW, THE BILL COSBY SHOW (he played a high school phys. ed. coach), and THE BOLD ONES, which was a rotating group of three shows that ran once a week; THE NEW DOCTORS, THE PROTECTORS and THE LAWYERS, which featured Leslie Nielsen in one of his four million TV shows.
The Lawyers
This wasn't the only time NBC used this wheel model for rolling out shows. NBC's Mystery Movie rotated MCCLOUD, COLUMBO and MCMILLAN AND WIFE. And although I can't find anything about it (though it's not like I searched thoroughly), I seem to remember NBC running NIGHT GALLERY's second season as part of a wheel of four shows called 4-in-1. I wish they still did that wheel stuff today.

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