“The question is, what happens after you walk off into the sunset,” Bridget Jones said.

So begins “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” the sequel to the 2001 hit adaptation of the Helen Fielding novel “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” “The Edge of Reason” finds Bridget, played by Rene Zellweger, six weeks into her relationship with the perfect marriageable man, Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth. Being Bridget, she can’t stay happy for long. Add a promotion, magic mushrooms, a stay in a Thai prison and Daniel Cleaver to Bridget’s bliss, and you have a thoroughly entertaining movie.

While it’s pretty much guaranteed that you can find me at any Colin Firth movie, I was a little bit nervous at the thought of a sequel to the completely enjoyable, but admittedly fluffy, original. I was afraid the storyline would be forced and would fail to acknowledge Bridget’s supposed growth in the last film.

Having seen the previews, I was concerned about the reappearance of Hugh Grant’s Cleaver, who had been quite thoroughly banished in the original. In spite of my worries, I was pleasantly surprised. “The Edge of Reason” felt like a natural continuation to Bridget’s story, and they definitely showed that she had learned from her experiences in the first movie.

The reintroduction of Cleaver came across as genuine, rather than just an excuse to include another handsome face and British accent.

Like the first movie, “The Edge of Reason” is filled with funny moments.

Bridget’s response to unknowingly eating hallucinogenic mushrooms is flat out one of the funniest sequences of the movie. Zellweger knows her role well by now, and hams it up wonderfully as Bridget experiences the heightened sensations brought on by the drug.

The inevitable “Bridget moments” help the sequel retain the charm of the first, without seeming forced. The male leads find themselves fighting over Bridget yet again, and the combination of grown men trading barbs and blows proved to be too much for the audience that I saw the film with to resist.

Director Beeban Kidron does a good job of building upon the first movie. He has downplayed the role some of the more cloying elements – the journal writing itself, for example – a change which keeps the movie speeding along. As in the first film, where the montage of Bridget’s depression set to Jamie O’Neal’s “All By Myself” was one of those perfect combinations, the soundtrack again plays a vital role in setting the mood for the movie. With artists ranging from Jamie Cullum to Mary J. Blige to Kylie Minogue to Rufus Wainwright, the choice in music matches the absurd continuum of Bridget’s experience wonderfully.

All in all, “The Edge of Reason” surpassed my every expectation. Yes, there was a campy moment or two, but as a whole, the film avoided many of the clichs that sequels to successful movies find themselves falling into.

The cast seemed thrilled to be back, and, truth be told, I was thrilled to have them for another hour and a half. In answer to Bridget’s question of what happens after happily ever after, “The Edge of Reason” seems to say that coupled life happens, and it’s still just as funny as being single.

Mueller can be reached at dmueller@campustimes.org.

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