DIR: Sharon Maguire • WRI: Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, Emma Thompson • PRO: Tim Bevan • DOP: Andrew Dunn • ED: Melanie Oliver • MUS: Craig Armstrong • CAST: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey
The early noughties were a golden era; the Spice Girls had just disbanded and ‘Girl Power’ was on the tip of everyone’s tongues and printed on their T-shirts. Destiny’s Child were still singing about being Independent Women, while the brilliant Bridget Jones’s Diary hit the cinemas – to be followed by Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. In those former fantastic films, Bridget was a flawed yet relatable woman, who stumbled her way through trouble and into success – against the odds and by ultimately being herself. Unfortunately, in Bridget Jones’s Baby, she is lost completely. This fabulous franchise is let down by an underdeveloped plot, by introducing flat, cliched side-kicks and by ignoring any of the recurring characters’ growth from the first two films.
Amidst all her ‘smug married’ buddies, Bridget, now 43, finds herself single and navigating her high-pressure job. She’s cultivated a new set of singleton mates and she has never, ever dated anyone else since her last relationship ended… because.
After lots of bad decisions brought on by binge drinking, Bridget finds herself up the pole with two men as the possible father:
- Mark is still awkward; it’s been about a decade since the last film and his obsession with work has caused, not only his relationship to Bridget to break down, but also his marriage to another woman in the meantime. Somehow Mark had gotten even more awkward and charmless than he had ever been before, and as as soon as the proverbial poop hits that fan, there’s a Mark-shaped hole in the wall. What a catch.
- The other potential baby-daddy is a ludicrously handsome billionaire, McDreamy, that Bridget kept falling in front of and running into until…sex. McDreamy’s major flaw is that he’s a smarmy American with strange ideas about positive thought. Which, in fairness, is an annoying set of attributes. That smile though. Of course, McDreamy falls instantly in love with Bridget (as all gorgeous billionaires must) and gets competitive with Mark. Physical comedy ensues.
The worst thing about Bridget Jones’s Baby is that instead of the inevitable romance blossoming, giving all audience members the warm-and-fuzzies we’ve come to expect, we are left with a douche and a turd situation.
– and ultimately, the take home message of this film (major, major spoiler alert) is:
Your terrible long term boyfriend, who’s treated you badly for the guts of a decade, will finally love you and change forever … and marry you … if you get pregnant by mistake. A perfectly healthy lesson for any woman.
Firth’s wooden and charmless delivery is so disappointing – the man has won an Oscar for Christ’s sake, but much consolation is definitely found in McDreamy’s chiselled chin and topless scenes. That, along with the occasional snappy one-liners, do mean that this film is watchable – but only after an entire bottle of wine (to be drank alone while singing ‘All By Myself’ for authenticity) and only by forgetting the first two films ever existed.
15A (See IFCO for details)
Bridget Jones’s Baby is released 16th September 2016