Sunday, September 18, 2016

Movie Review #491: "Bridget Jones's Baby" (2016)

Movie"Bridget Jones's Baby"
Director: Sharon Maguire
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes
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While attending a music festival with her friend, Bridget (Renée Zellweger) has a one night stand with a man named Jack (Patrick Dempsey). A few days later at the christening of her godchild, she hooks up with her ex-fiance Mark (Colin Firth). A few weeks later, she discovers she is pregnant. Uncertain of who the father is, Bridget tells both of them they are the father until she can find out who actually is. 

"Bridget Jones's Baby" is the third film in the Bridget Jones cinematic franchise. This film has continued 2016's trend of long held off sequels as it has been 12 years since "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," which wasn't exactly well received. Of course, that film did not have Sharon Maguire at the helm, who directed the very well received "Bridget Jones's Diary," and now, she has returned to the franchise after 15 years. What a difference a director makes! Of course, Renée Zellweger is back as the titular Bridget Jones, who you may have guessed from the title is having a baby, whose baby exactly? That's the big question. It could either belong to her ex-fiance Mark Darcy, played again by Colin Firth, who Bridget hooked up with at the christening of her godchild, or, it could be wealthy tech mogul Jack's baby. Jack is played by Patrick Dempsey, who Bridget had a one night stand with at a music festival. These two men wind up competing for the affections of Bridget as each think and hope the baby is theirs.

All the chemistry, wit, and charm absent in "The Edge of Reason" is now back in full force in "Bridget Jones's Baby," and thank God for that! Renée Zellweger feels like she wants to play this part again, something which was not immediately apparent in the first sequel. Colin Firth does a great job as the somewhat stodgy but always likable Mark, and Patrick Dempsey is also charming as the far more hip and easy going Jack. They both have a great dynamic with Renée Zellweger, who is back to her old self again as Bridget, offering enough awkward foot-in-mouth, extremely funny moments with plenty of wit to go around. Sure, there is the occasional bout of slapstick, but it is now situationally appropriate and fits the context of the story, where the past installment was very over-reliant on it and it always felt far too silly. Of course, in keeping with the times, everyone now has a fancy cell phone and Bridget writes her diary entries on an iPad, but there's also a hefty amount of rejection and skepticism of the younger ironic bearded hipster and app loving crowd, which we appreciate as Bridget doesn't naturally fall into that group, even though one of her baby daddys technically fits this exact description. In addition to the main three players, there are also some solid supporting performances from Sarah Solemani, who plays Bridget's friend and co-worker Miranda, as well as Emma Thompson, who plays Bridget's doctor and, incidentally, helped write the screenplay. Altogether, these actors perform their hearts out once again and boasts a true return to form for this fan-favorite franchise.

We had a really good time watching "Bridget Jones's Baby" and we are glad we get to say this. We were a little worried and nervous because A) almost all of the long awaited sequels this year have been mostly crap, and B) it is coming off of the borderline atrocious "The Edge of Reason," which lacks anything the original had (wittiness, charm, character) that made it such a winner. Luckily, we laughed consistently throughout this film and had a very fun experience watching it. Even if it's a little predictable and might be seen as a little square or retro by some younger viewers for pitting one man against another vying for the affections of one woman like in olden days, we still enjoyed it for what it is. Considering most romantic comedies these days are terrible, we'll take what we can get.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~78%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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