BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (Ireland | UK | France | USA/15A/122mins)
Directed by Sharon Maguire. Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent
THE PLOT: Five years after the end of her relationship with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), Bridget Jones (Renée Zellwegger) finds herself celebrating her birthday alone… Again. In a effort to turn over a new leaf, Bridget and her work colleague Miranda (Sarah Solemani) head to a music festival for a bit of fun. After she hooks up with the dashing Jack (Patrick Dempsey) at the festival, and falls back into bed with the familiar Mark Darcy a few days later, Bridget finds herself pregnant, with no clue who the father could be.
THE VERDICT: 12 years after her last big screen outing, Bridget Jones is back for more. This time, everyone’s favourite singleton is 43, and although she may have finally got her weight under control, her love life is as much of a mess as ever, and although there may be simple answers in real life, this wouldn’t be a Bridget Jones movie if she didn’t make a right mess of everything.
Most of the cast from the first two movies have returned for ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’; Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson and James Callis are all back in their roles, with new additions from Patrick Dempsey as the charming but annoying Jack and Sarah Solemani as Bridget’s rather funny and fearless new friend Miranda. All of the cast do fine in their roles, but it is Emma Thompson as Bridget’s gynaecologist Dr Rawlings that is the standout in the film, with her consistently funny quips and perfect timing.
The screenplay – which is not based on a Bridget Jones book for the first time in the franchise – was written by Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson, but it struggles to make Bridget relevant 12 years after her last movie. Bridget Jones was never a character that was particularly feminist, but this time out her views on motherhood and love seem positively archaic, and her decision to keep the baby she finds herself pregnant with seems to be purely based on the fact that her obviously bonkers mother seems to think she should have given in to her biological imperative by now. The jokes, such as they are, are really not that funny – thank god for Emma Thompson! – and the idea of throwing a cameo in from Ed Sheeran feels very out of place.
As director, Sharon Maguire never really manages to get the film moving in terms of its pace, and although Bridget has swapped her handwritten diary for an iPad, her words actually turning up on screen is erratic and jarring when it finally does happen. The performances are perfectly fine, although the comedic timing is off, for the most part, and there is a feeling of familiarity about the whole thing as Bridget still falls over, hooks up with the wrong guy and, even though she should know better, generally makes a mess of things. Also, just a point of order, there are easier ways to do paternity tests than amniocentesis.
In all, ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ feels as though it is trying too hard to be funny, to be relatable and to be relevant. There are precious few laughs throughout the film, and the entire affair feels rather dated and backward looking. We can only hope now that Bridget has a family, she will finally do some growing up.
RATING: 2.5/5
Review by Brogen Hayes

  • filmbuff2011

    After a screen absence of 12 years, serial singleton Bridget Jones is back in Bridget Jones’s Baby. She’s changed with time – not that much – but hopefully for the better.

    Dear old Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is back where she started – single and alone on her Birthday, feeling sad for herself and where she’s ended up. Now at the age of 43, she’s put a failed relationship with Mark (Colin Firth) behind her and decides to get on with enjoying her new single life. With Daniel Cleaver also out of the scene, Bridget heads to Glastonbury with new mate Miranda (Sarah Solemani). There, Bridget is rescued from embarrassment by Jack (Patrick Dempsey), a mathematician who thinks that finding the perfect match is really about algorithms. They have a one night stand, but Jack is already smitten. Several days later, Bridget is once again thrown into the ring with Mark to be godparents. He’s going through a divorce and is dealing with a Pussy Riot-style protest, which prompts that old flame to be re-kindled. Not long after that, Bridget finds out that she’s pregnant. Who’s the Daddy?

    Dear diary… After the somewhat disappointing Edge Of Reason, it’s with great pleasure to announce that Bridget Jones is back on form. The magic of the first film is recaptured thanks to the reunion of many of the original collaborators, including returning director Sharon Maguire. The story is a new one written by creator Helen Fielding and with Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson (who also makes a mark as a cynical, eye-rolling doctor), rather than be based on the third book, Mad About The Boy. Bridget is still working in television, still has a mother (Gemma Jones) who puts her foot in it and still has the ability to be clumsy. But, she’s lost weight and has accepted her age with grace.

    The story is basically a three-hander once again, this time with a new face in the form of dishy Jack, who is more attentive to Bridget than the dour Mark. There’s a lot of fun to be had with this trio and the interplay between them. There’s a good bit of one-upmanship going on, with Bridget unsure of who the father is – and what that might mean for her future.

    After the recent over-hyped controversy over Zellweger’s changing looks, she slips back into Bridget’s pyjamas and slippers with ease. It’s like catching up on an old friend, much like the Adrian Mole character of this reviewer’s youth. She’s delightful and a firm reminder of the talent we’ve missed out on while she took time off from making movies. Firth and Dempsey make a great double act too – two very different gentlemanly characters with their own ideas of wooing Bridget back – with often hilarious results.

    While it’s 25 minutes overlong for the average romcom, there’s never a feeling that it’s outstaying its welcome. If anything, the extra time allows more character development and a sense that Bridget is moving forward on the right path – at last. So, dear diary, in conclusion it can be said that Bridget Jones’s Baby is a welcome delivery and a bundle of joy. ****