FILM REVIEW: Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)

Bridget Jones's Baby

After 12 years, Bridget Jones is back, and she’s as brilliant as ever. She might be down to her goal weight, but things are never quite so simple with Miss Jones, are they? In fact it would seem that this time around she (Renee Zellweger) has landed herself in her worst predicament yet: pregnant and two men the father could be.

The latest of the Bridget Jones books, Mad About the Boy, was released in 2013. If you’ve read it, don’t expect the film to be even remotely similar. As a big Bridget fan, I’ve no qualms in saying I was a bit sceptical about the premise of the new film. As well as moving away from the original books, the writers had also killed off one of the main trio.

Yep, in case you hadn’t heard, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) isn’t in the film. No plot spoiler: you can see that from the posters. If that doesn’t make you sceptical, I’m not sure what will. Even Colin Firth (playing Mark Darcy, as ever) had his doubts on that front, but he’ll happily admit that in retrospect, he shouldn’t have worried. Instead of Cleaver, meet Jack (Patrick Dempsey). A new character could’ve carried the risk of changing the dynamics between character beyond repair, but Jack blends in smoothly. Keeping the age-old, tried and tested trio of the first two films would’ve run the risk of the selfsame plot. Be as sceptical as you like of the change, by the end of the film you’ll have no complaints.

Of course, all of Bridget’s oldest friends are present but, as might be expected, with family life they don’t have quite so much time to indulge in Bridget’s whims. Long gone are the nights of drinking and worrying of Cleaver’s last email. The hole they leave can’t be filled by anyone, but it does make way for the vibrant new work colleague, Miranda (Sarah Solemani).

She’s included in a wave of new characters in supporting roles, each adding their own humour to the film. This rom-com is far beyond the only laughs coming from Bridget making a fool of herself or the final, chaotic, coming-together scene. Bridget Jones’s Baby isn’t quite laugh-a-minute, but there are certainly bouts where you’ll find yourself struggling to breathe. From someone who doesn’t laugh at films all too often, that’s a bit of a biggie.

Emma Thompson and Joanna Scanlan also provide noteworthy comedic support, meaning there’s almost something for everyone in terms of humour, slapstick to terse sarcasm.

Don’t expect this to be a carbon copy of the first two Bridget films. Shockingly, she’s rolled with the times. Her diary is no longer lovingly handwritten but now typed up on a tablet, spelling mistakes and all. Online dating, ever younger work colleagues and new levels of daftness stop things getting stagnant, but the age-old familiarities are there, too.

For once, this is a Bridget Jones film that’s more “feel good” than “feel less crap about your life”.

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