As we walked into the movie, the tagline on the poster asks “Team Darcy or Team Jack?” As I read those lines, I thought to myself, what about Bridget? I want Team Bridget! Despite some traditional romantic comedy elements, I really feel like Bridget Jones’s Baby delivered on my wish.
The movie begins by coming full circle to a scene reminiscent of the first movie, Bridget Jones’ Diary, where Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is alone in her flat on her 43rd birthday. She begins by singing along with a sad song on the radio. She stops, turns on a fun rap song, dancing and jumping up and down with excitement. She is in control of her life, enjoying being single and unencumbered.
What a wonderful way to begin! There are a lot of women in their forties who end up alone for one reason or another which makes Bridget Jones’ Baby appealing, especially to women. The beginning shows promise, showing us a more mature Bridget Jones. She might still make mistakes and be goofy but she’s done being with a man just because she’s been told that’s how it should be. Her old boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) has been placed firmly out of the picture. I don’t want to spoil why, it would ruin the fun. Bridget and her old flame, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) have split up after ten years. At the beginning of the movie, he’s married and she is free to explore her life. Predictably, life doesn’t go as expected and Bridget ends up pregnant, either from a one night stand with a rich American she meets, Jack (Patrick Dempsey) or a one night reunion with Mark Darcy, who it turns out is getting divorced. Bridget has to figure out what to do about the situation and determine who the father of her baby is.
From here, the movie begins a more familiar pattern, following Bridget as she flirts with both men and tries to figure out her next steps. I knew how the movie was going to end before I sat down but that is part of the fun of a romantic comedy, so I didn’t mind too much. And the humor more than outweighed the predictable parts.
The actors give us solid performances. Renée Zellweger was funny as well as smart. It helped that the writers seemed to grasp that a mature woman still has relevance and still can be vibrant. It is affirming that a mature woman can play the lead in a movie and perform it so well.
The breakout performances were Patrick Dempsey playing Jack and Emma Thompson playing Bridget’s doctor. They stole every scene they were in and made this movie hilarious. My husband was laughing almost the entire time and I can understand why Patrick Dempsey is dubbed McDreamy. I went in a little disappointed that Darcy was not in the picture and ended up almost rooting for Jack.
The other really wonderful performance was Sarah Solemani portraying Miranda, the anchor of the news show Bridget produces. She is bright, captivating and her comedic timing is fabulous. She and Bridget (she is Bridget’s new best friend in the movie) riff about sex and she helps Bridget embrace her sexual freedom at a music festival.
Colin Firth is understated, quiet at times but plays the straight man extraordinarily well, subtle and restrained. He is sweet, having good chemistry with Renée Zellweger and also his rival, Patrick Dempsey. The two rivals play off of each other well; striking up a subtle one-upmanship over who will be the best dad and the best for Bridget. They were not constantly fighting. They even have a bit of a Bromance themselves before finding out they are vying over Bridget.
The humor totally carried the movie and there were some deep belly laughs due to a slapstick routine between the men and Bridget at the hospital. You don’t get anything new but it does make you laugh. One of the issues I did have, though, is with those standard romance concepts. This movie starts out with Bridget exploring her freedom and a wide range of choices. She doesn’t go to the men with any expectations but just to share that they might be the father. She is perfectly willing to go it on her own. This is brilliant on the part of the writers because they change up the basic romance elements. However, they falter on that premise toward the end of the movie.
Bridget has her ups and downs, makes some mistakes and she ends up needing to be rescued. Ultimately, that ends up being a man who sweeps in like a white knight. I would have loved for her to have spent more time with her parents and friends. We do get some scenes but those feel cut short of their potential. I really wanted Bridget to gather close to those people in her life and make a go of it by herself. I like that she makes the choice to involve the men as the father of her child but felt like there was a failed opportunity for a more unique ending. That said, you did get the feeling of choices and that Bridget opts for her choice at the end of the movie.
What we did end up with was an enjoyable, humorous movie that does resolve the trilogy in a completely satisfying way giving the romantic in me warm fuzzies. It was as good as the original Bridget Jones’ Diary. If you like romantic comedies and you are a fan of the original; I think you will really love this movie. It was funny, endearing, and full of charm. Go, Team Bridget!
Rating: 3 stars
After breaking up with Mark Darcy (Firth), Bridget Jones’s (Zellweger) “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch… she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones and Emma Thompson
Writers: Helen Fielding, Emma Thompson, Dan Mazer
Directed by: Sharon Maguire
Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward