Bridget Jones’s Baby

Posted: September 22, 2016 in Film reviews
Tags:

Directed by Sharon Maguire. Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey.

160915_mov_bridget-jones-baby_jpg_crop_promo-xlarge2

You won’t believe what the cast of Bridget Jones’s Diary look like now!!

On the cusp of her 43rd birthday Bridget finds herself single and childless, a fact her mother chooses to remind her of. At the funeral service for Daniel Cleaver (no Hugh Grant this time I’m afraid) she sees her ex, Mark Darcy (Firth) and his wife. None of her friends is able to help celebrate her birthday, so she spends the evening alone. At least her career is going well, she’s now a television producer and has become friends with her news anchor Miranda (Sarah Solemani).

 

Miranda encourages her to go away for the weekend with her, and Bridget accepts. She’s expecting a classy mini break but Miranda whisks her off to a music festival in the middle of nowhere. Wearing completely the wrong outfit Bridget falls flat on her face in the mud, but is rescued by a handsome stranger, Jack Qwant (Dempsey). Later a somewhat inebriated Bridget accidentally wanders into Jack’s Yurt and the two have sex (as you do!).

Several days later she attends the christening of her friend Jude’s (Shirley Henderson) baby where she meets Mark once more. Mark confesses that he and his wife are getting a divorce, and he and Bridget have sex (as you do!)

Flash forward several weeks and Bridget discovers she’s pregnant. Unable to get a DNA test done whilst she’s pregnant Bridget resolves to involve both potential fathers in her pregnancy, only without telling either man about the other! In this she is helped by her OB/GYN Dr Rawlings (Emma Thompson who also co-wrote the script along with Helen Fielding and Dan Mazar).

Can Bridget keep up the deception? Will she keep her job in the face of a ruthless new boss, and will she find true love with either Mark or Jack, and just which one is the father anyway?

 

A lot’s happened since we last ventured into the world of Bridget Jones. Zellweger took a six year break from acting and returned looking somewhat different, Firth won an Oscar and became a Kingsman, and Helen Fielding wrote a third Bridget book where she killed Mark Darcy off!

With all this in mind, not to mention a 12 year gap since Edge of Reason, I had to wonder whether the old magic could still work.

Well the answer is, I’m very pleased to say, yes it can, albeit with some caveats. As before the beating heart of the film remains Zellweger, who once again makes you forget she’s actually from Texas and convinces as a middle class English girl from the Home Counties, albeit a somewhat romanticised Home Counties. She imbues the character with such genuine warmth that it’s nigh on impossible not to love Bridget, no matter how rubbish she is, though it’s fair to say she isn’t quite the disaster area she once was, but in her mid-40s she’s still not quite got the hang of this adult business: One empathises! Bridget isn’t perfect. She wears the wrong thing, she does the wrong thing, and quite often she says the wrong thing, and despite the somewhat romanticised world she inhabits this continues to make Bridget Jones one of the more realistic movie heroines. It pains me to say it but I’ve never had a James Bond moment, I have had plenty of Bridget Jones’ moments however! Zellweger might look a little different (and whether it’s surgery or just aging who cares) but she’s still the same old Bridge.

The presence of Firth’s uptight Mark Darcy is also of vital import. The film survives quite well without Hugh Grant but it’s hard to imagine it would have been any good without Mark, and yet again Firth proves what a fantastic actor he is, because it takes a lot of talent to imbue such an apparently cold character with so much warmth, but yet again Firth does it, providing a master class in subtlety. Just watch the joy when he discovers he’s going to be a dad, and the pain when he realises it might not be his baby. I don’t know what Fielding thought she was doing killing him off but I’m very glad the film series at least is taking a different path.

As the third corner of the triangle Dempsey tries his best, but whilst Jack is a nicer guy, and a far better potential suitor, than Daniel Cleaver ever was, he lacks Grant’s caddish charm. Of the rest of the cast pretty much everyone from the previous films is back, though their roles are a tad limited—still it’s nice to see Shirley Henderson, James Callis and Sally Phillips again; I just wish we’d seen more of them, and the same applies to Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent as Bridget’s mum and dad, though Jones does have her moments.

Thompson isn’t in the film much, but the benefit of being one of the writers is that you can give yourself the best lines, and her wily doctor is quite amusing. The standout for me though is Solemani as Bridget’s new BFF. She has good comic timing and a nice line in physical comedy and it’s a shame that she’s increasingly side-lined as the film goes alone.

Plot wise it’s safe to say this is a film that treads familiar ground, and rarely does anything especially unexpected (although there’s a nice double bluff at one stage that did catch me off guard) but that’s not really what you want from this kind of film, you want a warm, familiar, comfortable blanket of a film, and on this level the film succeeds. Contrivances abound but, again, if you ignore these and just go with it the film’s a lot more enjoyable.

The script feels dated. Setting aside the elephant in the room (woman in successful job but only man and baby can make her truly happy) a lot of the jokes riff on things that would have been funnier a year or two ago; social media/cat videos/ hipster beards, and even the Ed Sheerin cameo seems like it would have worked better a couple of years ago. I guess the film had been in development for some time but it’s a shame it couldn’t feel a little more 2016 and a little less 2014!

But still it’s funny, I laughed all the way through and there’s some physical comedy involving a revolving door near the end that’s almost worth the price of admission alone.

This film is warm, funny, loveable and ever so slightly clumsy, much like Bridget herself. I do hope this is the last one though, Bridget deserves to have her happy ending and sail off into the movie sunset.

bridget-jones-baby-emma-thompson-renee-zellweger.jpg

“I’m just saying, if you wince it does look a little like Hugh Grant.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s