Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant Director: Beeban Kidron Category: IIB Mike Lancaster, co-founder of the anti-film awards the Stinkers, memorably likened Renee Zellweger's performance in Cold Mountain to looking like she was portraying Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies. 'In some scenes, she was so out there it was ridiculous,' he said. But Zellweger was duly awarded the Oscar for best supporting actress and rode off across the Atlantic to revive her role as Bridget Jones - the wonderfully real character created by Helen Fielding and successfully adapted from her books for the big screen in 2001 with Bridget Jones's Diary. Zellweger famously put on a heap of weight and gave a sterling performance as the British angst-ridden single woman, who smokes, drinks, swears and gets under your skin. It was a formulaic Jane Austen-inspired romantic tale of class division in which girl gets her upper-class man, but it worked because we fell in love with Bridget who was, like most of us, an imperfect creature who muddled her way though life, rebounding from setbacks and searching for contentment. Bridget's becoming character unwittingly serves as a perfect metaphor for this second instalment, in as much as its plot muddles along, struggling to find itself and leaving you searching for fulfilment - and reason. Bridget begins where she left off. Having got her dream man, the strait-laced lawyer Mark Darcy (Firth), the story revolves around her insecurity and attempts to keep him. In numerous scenes seemingly patched together, Zellweger - struggling, no doubt, to put Granny and Oscar behind her - overacts her way through a bizarre series of situations presumably designed to show Bridget as her zany down-to-earth self, but in fact portray her as a cliched English buffoon. Zellweger hams it up to the extent that Bridget, and hence the film, is reduced to a caricature. In a skiing segment, Bridget's hat appears replete with Mickey Mouse ears; when a scene ends with her promising to be elegant, lo-and-behold, in the next take she's not! And when she lands in jail facing 20 years, well, it's all just a bit of an inconvenience. Hugh Grant returns for another commendable turn as loveable rogue Daniel Cleaver, but while the film certainly has its moments, it's over-reliant on slapstick and reworked gags from the first one. Firth says he's unlikely to be involved in a third instalment. Good for him. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason opens next Thursday.