Back in 2001 women across the kingdom grabbed their nearest gal pals and the closest bottle of whatever for a night of Bridget; known formerly from the novel by Helen Fielding that already blueprinted every woman inside and out in formidable, hilarious and heartwarming fashion. The sequel, Edge of Reason, was a so-so handprint on the name, but for fans of the accident-prone ingenue, Fielding created a third to finalise, Bridget Jones’s Baby. Not long after and Renée returns as the titular character, Colin Firth and co are in hand, and newcomer McDreamy, or Patrick Dempsey, are under original Bridget Jones’s Diary director Sharon Maguire’s helm.
Bridget’s birthday looms. She’s in a happy place, however. Her career is soaring, she’s single, she’s shed the weight and the fags and most importantly she’s content with life. It’s not until crossing paths with a handsome American called Jack (Dempsey) and a reconnection with old flame Mr. Darcy (Firth) that she ends up pregnant. And when life seemed smooth, she falls pregnant. But who’s the father?
Whilst Bridget’s series of misfortunes may be lost overseas, here she’s a hit. Fielding’s wholesome and everyday character fuses well with a lot of individuals hence her success — there’s no play of “All By Myself” without the image of Bridget, crying profusely with a glass of vino in one hand and a spoon and a tub of Ben and Jerrys in the other. She portrays every woman’s love life, their downfalls, amidst hilarities with friends and foes, the love for Bridget is universal. Director Sharon Maguire’s vision enhances such a character with equal vigour and preposterousness with surviving the ups and downs of managing single life as much as tackling the ins and outs of relationships. There’s a great deal here to work with, and it’s all down to the women in charge: Fielding, Magure and of course Renée herself.
There’s an undoubtable fact that without Renée the character would be lost in limbo. She somehow warms Bridget to such heights that she’s incomparably likable and infinitely lovable. She may have undergone rigorous plastic surgery but the true essence of Jones herself is still visible. She quirks, trips, clambers and struts her ways through festivals, the streets of London and in and out of misfortunes enough times to warrant uproars of sheer hilarity. And with a screenplay adapted by Fielding, Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson, the measures are equal. With every moment of joking misstep, that sometimes either references or just merely takes from the original, there’s a dozen of genuine amusement, exaggerated exponentially by Renée’s side-splitting characteristics that again are often comparable enough to its target audience. Baby’s coherence as a fully functional story wavers in terms of believability compared to its predecessors, especially Diary’s simplistic “one woman against the world” plot, but it never hinders.
Firth’s new found nemesis Dempsey pits love interests of proper and charming against handsome and spontaneous; we all understand who Bridget should end with, therefore reduces chances of unpredictably extensively, but the battling of the odds fills the void of Hugh Grant’s awkward absence (though it is explained in hilarious fashion) and plods the romance along fittingly.
The closing chapter of Bridget’s life comes at a time where romantic comedies are sparse in quality. Here, there’s a character worthy of another sequel, and where the laughs flow continually, the poignant closing moments will make you want to return back to the start and relive the classic Bridget all over again.
Dir: Sharon Maguire
Scr: Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, Emma Thompson
Cast: Renée Zellwegger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent
Prd: Tim Bevan, Debra Hayward
Music: Craig Armstrong
DOP: Andrew Dunn
Runtime: 122 minutes