Bridget Jones’s Baby (M)
Rating: 4 / 5
Fifteen years after the delightfully ditzy Bridget Jones chronicled her love life in Bridget Jones’s Diary, there’s a distinct sense of deja vu as she celebrates her 43rd birthday home alone, forlornly singing ‘Happy birthday to me’ while ‘All By Myself’ wails in the background.
Older and wiser? Not really. While her diary might have been replaced with a shiny red iPad, the opening scenes of Bridget Jones’s Baby—the third movie in the series—reveal that her longings and insecurities remain.
However, after a brief interlude with a perfect stranger and a romantic encounter a few days later with the delectable Mr Darcy, it seems Bridget Jones (Renee Zellwegger) is back with a vengeance.
She’s given up smoking, conquered her weight problem, and is—rather improbably—a top TV news producer. To her delight, her love life is on the up and up, but three months later when she discovers she’s pregnant, Bridget is faced with a tantalising dilemma.
Who will be left holding the baby? Will it be her old flame Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) or the no less attractive stranger Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), both of whom Bridget finds totally irresistible?
Directed by Sharon Maguire and written by Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson, Bridget Jones’s Baby is an irreverent romp that ticks all the familiar boxes.
Zellwegger shines as the adorably quirky Bridget; Firth reprises the Darcy role with his usual clench-jawed intensity; and Dempsey (aka Grey’s Anatomy’s ‘McDreamy’) is a charming, easygoing foil to Darcy’s hauteur. Fortunately, Bridget doesn’t have to contend with love rat Daniel Cleaver (played in the previous two movies by Hugh Grant), who is conspicuous by his absence due to his reported demise in a plane crash.
Emma Thompson almost steals the show with her tart, zingy repartee as Bridget’s gynaecologist, while Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones return as Bridget’s parents, and her work colleagues and old friends are supportive and caring. Singer Ed Sheeran also makes an appearance.
Elements of slapstick, such as when Bridget tumbles face down in the mud while wearing a pristine white dress, are offset by whimsical quips: ‘I can’t go back and keep making the same mistake...when I can make new ones,’ she says without a trace of irony.
As Bridget goes into labour, the well-worn climactic rom-com formula of a frantic rush to the airport is replaced by a dash to the hospital, and there are laugh-out-loud moments as the prospective fathers, staggering under her weight, carry her into the hospital foyer before dumping her unceremoniously on the counter.
What may otherwise have been a fairly predictable plot is given added piquancy by keeping audiences in suspense about not only the identity of the baby’s father, but also who is waiting for Bridget some time later when she walks down the aisle as a radiant bride.
The unexpected kicker in the final scene is an intriguing end to this warm and witty movie.
Highlight: a stellar cast ramping up the fun
Red flag: language, sex scenes and some nudity