By Vicki Baker
It was a twelve year wait to see what Bridget Jones got up to next and honestly, after the author Helen Fielding brutally killed off Mark Darcy in the car crash (pardon the pun) that was ‘Mad About the Boy’, did anyone really care? Thankfully the filmmakers have chosen to disregard this third literary installment, allowing Bridget a big-screen comeback that’s both comical and emotive. It has also meant that Colin Firth – who may have aged but definitely still has something going on – returns to his awkwardly charming role of Mr Darcy. And, in true Bridget Jones style, he isn’t the only leading man.
Hugh Grant’s absence is obviously felt, but does not go unacknowledged. In fact, there is great continuity between Bridget Jones’s Baby and the two preceding films, as flashbacks are used without feeling like filler. Bridget is still making ridiculous life decisions, and it’s a good job she is, because one of these bad decisions is Patrick Dempsey’s Jack. Dempsey brings an updated, international, and less caddish version of Grant’s boyish charm, playing well off Firth’s character as ‘the other man’ in Bridget’s life.
“to call this film vintage bridget would be underselling it”
To call this film vintage Bridget would be underselling it; she’s more mature, has improved her fashion sense and, dare I say it, is less irritating (probably because she doesn’t spend the majority of the filming moaning about her non-existent weight issue). Renée Zellweger is also joined by an excellent cast, including new additions such as Sarah Solemani of Him and Her fame. Solemani takes on the role of Bridget’s best friend now that the old crowd are busy looking after babies. Returning stars include Gemma Jones, who obviously had no trouble jumping back into the role of over bearing mother barely trying to hide her disappointment at her lack of son-in-law or grandchildren.
Bridget herself has now graduated from a young single woman trying to find love to a middle-aged single woman attempting to master modern day living. It’s a hilarious and, at times, terrifyingly realistic representation that manages to remain funny and fresh throughout the film. Of course, there’s still the element of ‘this would never happen in real life’, namely the festival scenes and the fact that she manages to convince two men to accept parental responsibility for a baby that might not be theirs.
“will leave die hard bridget fans more than a little weepy”
The ridiculousness, not so much of Bridget’s situation but the way she handles it, is summed up by her request for two covert and separate baby scans for each potential father to attend, overseen by a doctor who is excellently played by Emma Thompson. In fact Thompson, who also co-wrote the film, proves to be one of the best new additions, offering up a few of the funniest lines and some poignant advice about single motherhood, showing that Bridget has indeed grown up and moved with the times. Her determination to put her motherly duties above any man or self-pity makes for a far more emotional story than either of the two previous films. Finally, she is a Bridget that you can fully root for, to the point where the all too neat and perfect ending isn’t even annoying or cringe worthy. The thoroughly predictable, yet beautifully executed, happily ever after is the only way Bridget’s story could ever have ended, and will leave die hard Bridget fans more than a little weepy. You have been warned.