Nutshell: If you love Bridget, you’ll love this newest chapter in her life. Bridget Jones’s Baby brings the characters into their next decade gracefully, while keeping that off-kilter situational humor that made the first two films so much fun. Goofy rom-coms may not be everybody’s cup of tea (pity), but for those that love a quirky love story? Dive in. Grade: A
“How in the hell did I end up here again.”
Story: Girl meets reindeer-jumper-clad boy. Girl gets boy. Girl breaks up with boy. Girl meets another boy…and then re-connects with original boy. Girl gets pregnant. Who’s the boy?
Genre I’d put it in: Girls Night Out
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Part 3 of the Bridget Jones series, based on the series of books by Helen Fielding (but thankfully not based on the third novel, Crazy about the Boy.) Probably the last of this series, but who’s to say?
Gotta say: Okay my ladies, and my gays. Let’s just realize it’s probably just us for this review, right? And honestly, if you’re reading this far in, you’ve already decided to see this film, probably already bought your tickets. You’re just trying to decide exactly how excited you should be.
Zellweger is just as bubbly and wonderful as Bridget as she was at the start of the series. She’s thinner in this film – putting weight on and off is a pain, and for this dip into the pool it’s wholly unnecessary – but still every inch the lovable misfit. Firth as THE Mark Darcy is still wonderful, with that wistful yearning for Bridget still intact. Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer (Da Ali G Show) and Emma Thompson (Wit) all did screenwriting duty, and their blend of styles mesh perfectly. Bridget Jones’s Baby manages to delight, get cheeky, and go a bit blue…sometimes all in the same scene. Bringing back Bridget Jones’s Diary director Sharon Maguire helps Baby feel like a natural extension of the original story.
What really surprised me was how well Patrick Dempsey fit into this world. Yes, he is McDreamy, so he’s got the whole romantic lead thing down. But with this story’s ensemble cast of romance, he manages to stand out without taking over the joint. (Like anyone could ever top Firth. The only possible contest could be Firth and Elba. Man, I’d watch the hell outta that film.)
It’s also lovely to see the old gang together again; Sally Phillips as Shazzer, Shirley Henderson as Jude, and Julian Rhind-Tutt as Fergus. Bridget’s friends have grown up (kinda), and they’ve all carved out a particular part of adult life for themselves. Yet they’re all still a team. And that’s wonderful to see. So are Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones, reprising their roles as Bridget’s parents.
The “how’d this happen” part of the film is just crazy enough to be believable; from Bridget’s decision to head to a weekend-long music fest (mud, yurts and all) to running into Darcy out of the blue (talk about a re-Meet Cute), it’s all so much romantic fun. And let’s not forget Emma Thompson as the OB-GYN who thought she’d seen it all. Brittish reserve and cheeky sarcasm? Check, and check.
So go on and buy that popcorn, and grab some licorice while you’re at it. It’s gonna be a party. You might as well have refreshments on hand.
#Protip: Of course Colin Firth played Mr. Darcy in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice, so he was a lock for this film’s Mr. Darcy. But Firth is fine being Darcy’s “conduit on earth”. Thank goodness!