UK Release Date: 16th September 2016
Runtime: 123 minutes
Director: Sharon Maguire
Writer: Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, Emma Thompson
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Sarah Solemani, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones
Synopsis: Not long after abandoning her hopes of an idyllic perfect life, Bridget falls pregnant. However, she doesn’t know whether the father is her on-off partner Mark Darcy or an attractive entrepreneur she met at a music festival.
Racing in 12 years after its predecessor, the disappointing and at some points offensively bad Edge of Reason, Bridget Jones’s Baby is a breath of fresh air that allows us to say farewell to our British heroine in a respectful, and often hilarious, manner. While it’s unlikely to win over new audiences or people who weren’t fans of the original, Bridget’s return to form feels like a warm hug for those who have loved her since the see-through shirts and short skirts of the early noughties.
We follow Bridget, played again by the sparkling Renee Zellweger, as she vows to swear off men, pursue her career as a television producer and go on a gig/sex tour with her friend, played by a scene-stealing Sarah Solemani. In the space of two weeks, she engages in carnal relations with new-to-the-cast Patrick Dempsey, who holds his own with all of the more familiar characters, and old flame Colin Firth, who plays Mark Darcy better than he ever has. As the title suggests, this has unexpected consequences in the shape of a pregnancy, and the two potential fathers duel for superiority.
In some ways it’s a departure from the comedy of the original. Less emphasis is placed on Bridget’s diary writing and internal monologue, with more focus on visual gags and set pieces. Some stretch the imagination, but the talented cast and sensible handling of Bridget’s character and history manages to keep it just within the realms of believability to be outrageously fun.
In many ways, where you see the movie contributes a lot to your enjoyment of it. A cinema filled with avid Bridget fans are bound to enjoy this more than a group of newbies. Its humour and emotion all comes from your connection and expectations, which could leave newcomers feeling alienated.
There are flaws as parts of the film feel outdated. References to cats that look like Hitler would be more in place in a bad 2008 comedy movie rather than one arriving in 2016. Awkward scenarios and visual gags can only go on for so far before you start to get tired, and the movie stretches your goodwill for this to the very limit. The movie’s trajectory, which sees a career woman swear off relationships for sex and ends with her having a baby and trying to decide between two potential husbands, also feels out-of-touch with modern thinking about what women want from life.
However, on balance Bridget Jones’ Baby is an uproariously funny return to form, guaranteed to have fans enjoying Bridget like they did when she was stuck singing ‘All By Myself’ on the sofa.
Pop or Poop?
Bridget is back and she’s bringing all of her charm back with her. Bad memories of Edge of Reason are swiftly tossed aside as original director Sharon Maguire returns and brings the character’s best along with her. This is a warm, witty send-off for everyone’s favourite diarist.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.