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'Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason' (2004)
Sequel to: "Bridget Jones's Diary" (2001)
Did it kill the franchise: Maybe not
Why it was so unnecessary: "Bridget Jones's Diary" was a proposition as assured of success as its bumbling heroine wasn't: not only was it based on a legitimate publishing phenomenon in Helen Fielding's mega-bestseller, but it also followed the Working Title-Richard Curtis Britcom formula that had already made stratospheric international successes of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill." It couldn't, and didn't, fail: the plucky, inexpensive romance earned nearly three times its budget in the US alone, landed Renee Zellweger her first Oscar nomination and endured on UK television as mandatory Christmastime programming. (Every. Single. Year.) A sequel was inevitable, not least because Fielding had already obliged with a follow-up book before "Diary" was even filmed, but it was far from necessary: mirroring the structure of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," the first film ended with Bridget securing her happy ending with Mr. Darcy, so any follow-up would spoil that elegant literary resolution. Sure enough, the aptly titled "The Edge of Reason" piled on the contrivances to give its heroine a man to fight for -- sending her dubiously to a Thai prison for cocaine smuggling and making her a human rights celebrity -- but that wasn't as big a problem as the film's casual misogyny, racism and sheer charmlessness. The Bridget Jones of the first film was hapless and relatably insecure; the Bridget of the second was simply a man-dependent moron. Rarely in film history has a franchise betrayed its own hero(ine) quite so brutally. With $40 million, it managed a little over half the first film's US gross, but was still an international hit. A third instalment, "Bridget Jones's Baby," has been mooted for some time, though it looks increasingly and mercifully unlikely: earlier this year, co-star Colin Firth stated that it's "[not] completely dead in the water... but you might be seeing Bridget Jones' granddaughter's story being told by the time we get there."