Fans of the hapless heroine Bridget Jones and the romantic comedy genre itself will love this triumphant comeback which sees Bridget becoming a mother for the first time.
Bridget Jones is back! It’s been 12 years since her last screen outing, and things have certainly changed for this iconic character. Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is now 43, has a successful job as a news producer, and is single once again having split from her long term lover Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Now embracing spinsterhood (she has amusingly declared herself a “spilf”), she’s looking to have some fun. However, following a one night stand at a music festival with sexy American Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey), and a subsequent hook up with her old flame Mark just days later, Bridget discovers she’s pregnant – and she hasn’t got a clue who the father is. What follows is a hilarious set of events for this beloved character as she goes on her journey to becoming a mother – and she does so in true bumbling Bridget style.
The opening of the film echoes the first time Bridget burst onto our screens back in 2001; we see Bridget sitting on her sofa, wearing her pyjamas, listening to Céline Dion’s ‘All By Myself’ on her 43rd birthday. Unimpressed, she switches on House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’, and in seconds she is stumbling about and lip-synching along with a glass of wine in her hand, acting just like the Bridget that audiences know and love – except this alternative song choice for Bridget seems to signify the new era for our heroine that the film is about to embark on. There are certainly moments in the film where we do see a difference in Bridget. Upon arriving in the VIP area of the music festival, for example, Bridget undoubtedly shows her age; she fails to recognise Ed Sheeran when she asks him to take her photo, instead excitedly announcing, “I think I’ve just seen the man from Bargain Hunt!”. Older she may be, moments like this reassure the audience that Bridget is still as funny as ever.
One of the greatest scenes in the film is when both potential fathers Mark and Jack attempt to get Bridget through a revolving door upon arriving at the hospital before she gives birth. The three lead actors all work well together on screen and this is perhaps their strongest scene. The physical comedy seen here is wonderful and definitely receives some of the best laughs from the audience.
The return of most of the original cast was also welcomed. Zellweger returns to the title role with ease and is a joy to watch. Other returning cast members include Bridget’s flamboyant mother Pam (Gemma Jones) and her long suffering father Colin (Jim Broadbent), whilst Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson and James Callis all reprise their roles as Bridget’s encouraging and funny group of friends. Firth’s return as the stern human rights lawyer Mark Darcy is brilliant, and also somewhat reassuring; the shock death of this beloved character in Helen Fielding’s third Bridget book, Mad About the Boy, caused outrage among fans when it was released in 2013. However, it is Emma Thompson starring as Bridget’s doctor who arguably delivers some of the best lines of the third film, maybe the most notable being when advising Mark and Jack to stay away from the ‘business end’ when Bridget gives birth, “my ex-husband said it was like watching his favourite pub burn down”.
Despite these entertaining moments, however, the film is not without its faults. It was already known that Hugh Grant’s bad boy Daniel Cleaver would not appear in this film, but this is dealt with very early on and rather too fleetingly. Moreover, a scene featuring Bridget dancing to the song ‘Gangnam Style’, perhaps in an attempt to relate to younger audiences, was not especially funny. These minor errors however do not detract from the film’s overall comic success.
Bridget Jones’s Baby is, in short, a heart-warming and humorous film. Some franchises can become tired by the third movie, but Bridget’s ever relatable and hilarious character reassures us that this latest instalment has certainly been worth the wait. As Bridget herself might say, it really is v. v. good.
Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016), directed by Sharon Maguire, is distributed in the UK by Universal Pictures. Certificate 15.