Film: Bridget Jones’s Baby

Thursday 29 September 2016 by

Bridget Jones's Baby, Film, Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey

You might love or hate Bridget Jones, but you can’t escape her. In the long-awaited third outing, Renée Zellweger reprises her role as Bridget in Bridget Jones’s Baby. To be honest, that pretty much sums up the plot; Bridget, now 43, becomes pregnant. But that’s not all – she’s not quite sure who the father is. Is it formal and handsome ex, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), or suave American Jack (Patrick Dempsey)? It will take most of the film to figure it out, so you have a good run of high jinks and comedy to keep you guessing in the meantime.

I have to admit, I’m not the greatest lover of Bridget Jones – either the book or the films. There’s comedy there, for sure, and there’s a certain comfort in watching the films. But the awkward comedy makes me squirm, and sometimes borders the slapstick that I simply find a bit off-kilter. The third instalment, whether by good fortune or bad, is much the same as the first two (although the second film is by far the worst).

The comedy is good-natured, and the cast is hilarious each in their own right. You have the familiar awkward scenes of poor Bridget trying to bumble her way through a high-powered media job, and the rough-and-tumble competition of the two prospective fathers. And I will admit, I even snorted with laughter at some of it. There are the poignant moments too, just to counter the comedy. This is what makes good comedy though – setting it deeply in reality, with plenty of emotion to fend off the trash. And this film does it surprisingly well.

The bit that I kind of hated was the obvious effort to make this a Feminist Thing. There are parallels to Pussy Riot, and lots of “you don’t need a man” stuff, when actually without it the film would still feel like a film that features a strong female lead and a good, feminist storyline. Bridget is never going to be a feminist icon – but she has her moments, and that’s what should have happened here. You’re never going to be a right-on feminist film when you layer it in comedy and have your lead character throwing up in bins. Realistic? Yes. But a film to be held up for its equality-of-the-sexes morality? No.

If you can get past all that though, this is a good film to watch. Take your friends and have a good laugh. It’s a feel-good film, with a heart of gold, much like Bridget herself. Zellweger is predictably delightful in this role, and it’s refreshing to see something of a backlash against Hollywood age-ism, even if it is a bit light on the solemnity.

There is a reason this film is doing well at the box office – when the world around you feels pretty grim, you can guarantee Bridget Jones and co. will cheer you up. Get some of those happy feelings back, and catch Bridget Jones’s Baby in cinemas now!

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