Bridget Jones's Baby
19/09/2016 | Jake Richardson
We are used to reboots, reimagining's and third instalments being, for the most part, roundly terrible; but this third adaptation from Helen Fielding's series of novels avoids most of the pitfalls of modern franchise reinvigoration, providing a nostalgic but enjoyable return to Renee Zellweger's most popular character.
The first Bridget Jones is one of those timeless pieces of rom-com gold; utterly ridiculous and yet hilarious, it transcends generational divides and occupies a special place in the hearts of the movie going audience of the time. The new chapter sees Bridget (Renee
Zellweger) torn as, after a played-for-laughs rendezvous with a rich American mogul at Glastonbury and a romantic tryst with former flame Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) at a christening, she falls pregnant - unable to discern who the father is.
"THE STAND-OUT BY FAR IS EMMA THOMPSON ... STEALING EVERY SCENE SHE TOUCHES"
For the most part, everybody is back in the saddle for this continuation of the story (albeit with one exceedingly noticeable absence). The only impactful new addition is Patrick Dempsey as Jack, a subversion of Hugh Grant's hound-dog character of the first two films. Dempsey plays it all smiles, but after Dempsey and Firth passive-aggressively battle it out in the hospital in a war of words, you might be feeling a slight longing for the outright antagonism of the male leads in the first two films.
The stand-out by far is Emma Thompson, in a role she apparently wrote for herself. Her snarky and witty obstetrician is a beautifully crafted character, with Thompson playing it to perfection and stealing every scene she touches.
The first Bridget Jones was released in 2001, and 15 years have taken place since then. While our heroes have gone through trials and tribulations since then, the audience who were so enthralled upon their first encounter have also spent the past 15 years dealing with the disappointments of life. This is the key to the movies success, as director Sharon Maguire doesn't shy away from the complications of life. Too often, we see easy cop-out answers to the issues with revitalising a franchise so far down the track of the characters lives, but in this case the film is a pleasant surprise, as it satisfactorily deals with almost all of the issues you would envisage going into it.
That's not to say the film is perfect. Jack often feels like a too good to be true, one-note good guy, and the coincidences keeping the characters apart will have you gripping your armrests in frustration more often than not, but Maguire does a tremendous job of not shying away from the ridiculousness of it all (indeed, her final sequence seems like an admission of the sheer silliness of the entire premise).
At the end of the day, the film is not about Mark Darcy and Bridget Jones's perfect partnership. It is much more so about the perfect pair of director and star in Maguire and Zellweger, who infuse the film with such passion and feeling. Both clearly care for the character, and what she represents to viewers everywhere, and by the end of the film it is clear that Bridget is such a strong character she doesn't really need either of the men anyway.
Bridget Jones's Baby is a pleasing, and nostalgic, return to form for the franchise that will have you excited about a fourth installment.