‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ whines its way to glory

September 23, 2016

After 12 years, the third installment of the “Bridget Jones” (2001 – 2004) film series has finally been released.

When Working Title Films announced its intention to make another film back in 2009, several problems arose after the announcement. In fact, the director of “Bridesmaids” and most recently “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call,” was reportedly going to direct the film. However, creative differences arose with Working Title and he exited the project. Though production was estimated to begin in January of 2012, the actors claimed the screenplay was not good enough, which resulted in creative differences between the cast and crew. Despite originally having the three main actors from the first two previous films signed up to return (Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant), Grant exited, commenting on his dislike for the screenplay.

In order to make “Bridget Jones’s Baby” happen, producers hired two-time Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson to revise and rewrite the script. Thompson, aside from being an Academy Award-winning actress, also happens to be an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, having penned the celebrated script for “Sense and Sensibility” (1995).

The film series was loyal to the adaptation of the first two novels, penned by Helen Fielding. But whereas the third “Bridget Jones” novel kills off Darcy, the movie aims its gun at another character, killing that person instead.

The film brought on board Sharon Maguire to direct it, who has not done much after she directed the first film of the series in 2001. Patrick Dempsey was brought on board, replacing Grant in another love triangle.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” brings back certain nostalgia from the original—the film that made everyone fall in love with Jones’ quirkiness and dorkiness. Despite the fact that Zellweger was on hiatus for the past few years, it is as if Jones had never left.

The sole difference is that everyone does look older and more grown up. The audience meets Jones on her 43rd birthday, still single and childless. The only change, according to her, is that she has reached her ideal weight. At this point in her life, she has devoted the majority of her time to her career as a producer of a TV news segment. She and her friend Miranda (Sarah Solemani) experience one wild weekend in which Jones meets Jack Qwant (Dempsey), and they eventually have a one-night stand. Jones’ relationship with Mark Darcy has concluded; Darcy even married another woman. Notwithstanding, she encounters Darcy, a few days after her one-night stand with Jack, at the baptism of a friend’s child. The attraction between the two of them is stronger than ever. Days later, Jones turns out to be expecting a baby; however, it is not all cheers and joy mostly because she is unsure of the baby’s father.

There is not a lot of new material that the film works with. Nonetheless, all that can be said is that it is much better than its predecessor, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.” One of the few positive aspects to say about this latest installation’s plot is that the audience gets to enjoy more of Thompson, who aside from collaborating on the screenplay also has a supporting role as Dr. Rawlings, Jones’ gynecologist, who receives some of the best laughs due to this arrangement.

While the film has obvious tropes, some of them are pleasing, especially for Jones’ fans. She still constantly embarrasses herself, although the film elevates this to a new level that the two previous ones did not; in this film, the audience encounters an older version of Jones. She is no longer thirty-something and this is clearly visible in the gag where Jones and Miranda have an encounter with the singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. They ask him to take a photograph of them, which the singer interprets as a photograph with him in it. Nevertheless, they misunderstand and take him as an egocentric weirdo. This scene implies that Jones does not know who Ed Sheeran is because she belongs to another generation; she is older than when the audience last saw her. It is the only cameo in the film, yet it is brilliant and relevant.

Overall, though, most of the jokes worked out thanks to the entire cast’s input. Even if the main plot was not the most realistic one, the movie has more character development than gags; it is a huge improvement from “The Edge of Reason,” and therefore forgives the past and only focuses on the present.

The reason why “Bridget Jones’s Baby” is pleasing is because, like comfort food, although you know it is not the best thing for you, it is irresistible to enjoy it. Plus, it ends with a nice bow that ties everything together, giving a fair and enjoyable final film to a 15-year-old series.

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