Renee Zellweger Colin Firth Patrick Dempsey Emma Thompson Jim Broadbent Gemma Jones Sarah Solemani
This is the third installment of Bridget Jones, and I would have thought that after the cool reception of the second (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), that that would be it. But, no, in this age of filmmakers’ lust for remakes and sequels (i.e., money), we get the third version: Bridget Jones’s Baby. Renee Zellweger remains Bridget, and Colin Firth is retained as love interest Mark Darcy. Patrick Dempsey is introduced as Mark’s charismatic rival, TV star and professional matchmaker, Jack. I think his character (and Dempsey is perfect in the role) adds the most refreshing addition to the plot and helps bring the sitcom-like story into contemporary times. More about that below.
As the film opens, Bridget is coming to terms with her life situation—over 40 and a “spinster.” With pressure from her co-worker Miranda (Solemani, who adds additional flair and talent to the cast), Bridget decides she will become a sexy “cougar” and go to a camp festival, all the rage, and let come what may. She ends up falling down in the mud, being rescued by Jack who just happens by and is instantly attracted to her. One-night stand, and she skitters off.
As happens in social circles, Bridget encounters Mark from time to time—once with his wife, then once at a family christening without his wife, when, it turns out, he is divorcing. The old fire is rekindled and they have a significant encounter.
Now, of course—the whole point of this movie—Bridget finds out she is pregnant. The problem is that she slept with two men at about the same time, so who is the father? Consistent with the zany character, Bridget used very old condoms in her encounters with the two men. (I’m glad there was at least an attempt at safe protection!)
It’s inevitable that the three—Bridget, Mark, and Jack—will be thrown together from time to time, with first one man and then the other professing his love for Bridget and the child. Eventually, everyone knows that the fatherhood is unclear, and we see them struggle through the ambiguities of the situation. The interchanges at prenatal classes are some of the funniest scenes of the movie, especially when the instructor assumes the two men are a couple and Bridget is the surrogate for their adoptive baby. Playful Jack thinks this is great fun, and begins to relate to Mark as a lover (he is willing to role-play for fun), which only makes Mark more uneasy. Being so proper, Mark is already having a hard time with this bizarre situation.
The conclusion is well orchestrated by Sharon Maguire as director of the first and third versions of Bridget Jones and by the screenwriters Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, and Emma Thompson. (Thompson as the physician also brings wry hilarity to her scenes.)
A rom-com that many will enjoy following the previous Bridget Jones films.
Grade: C+ By Donna R. Copeland