Cinema Review: Bridget Jone’s Baby

Bitter experience has told cine tragics that sequels are usually rubbish – The Godfather: Part II (1974) stands forever as the exception to the rule. Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason (2004) was an absolute stinker, so this latest, an apparent afterthought from the franchise, didn’t over-excite. But despite a hastily construed and tackily constructed intro, it delivers with ebullience and warmth, and plenty of self-deprecating humour and savvy satire along the way. Adjusting after such a long time lapse, however, is not easy at first. To begin with, Bridget is now 43, and looks every day of it, while Mark is positively cadaverous in his dark barrister’s suit. After this initial shock, however (like bumping into old friends that you haven’t seen in ages and thinking how much the years have taken their toll), both Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth settle comfortably into their parts as if they had never been away. The ghost in the machine, naturally, is Hugh Grant’s Daniel, so he has been wisely killed off before Bridget, alone again, must own up to her latest emotional crisis. Convinced by a friend and fellow worker at the TV news show where she has made a formidable career for herself, Bridget decides that what she needs more than anything is a good rogering. She gets plastered at a music festival, meets Jack (Patrick Dempsey), and has sex with him. The following week, under different circumstances, she finds herself in the arms of Mark. A month later, Bridget discovers that she is pregnant – but to whom? It is a clever, entirely believable setup and director Sharon Maguire maintains the mystery of fatherhood throughout. You want it to be Mark but, unlike Grant’s caddish Daniel, Jack is an honourable man whose feelings for Bridget are genuine. The pleasing subtext is that Jack has made his fortune through an app that can eradicate love’s fickleness online, when we all know it can’t. A lovely contribution from the peerless Emma Thompson as Bridget’s doctor is the icing on the cake.

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