What It’s About: Team Darcy or Team Jack? That is our saucy British single girl’s grown-up dilemma in the charming and delightful third installment about Helen Fielding's lovable literary character.
In ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby,” the mishap-prone news producer, now 43 and alone, must sort out her life as motherhood looms. She doesn’t know who fathered her child, and both men embrace potential fatherhood in their own way. A case is made for both, and that builds the conflicts in this bona fide love triangle.
Is it the dashing American Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), a dating site mogul who has a fling with Bridget (Renee Zellweger) at a music festival? It’s a thoroughly implausible meet-cute, a convenient way to set up the new mystery man. But never mind the quibbling — this is a fantasy romance, after all.
New-age male Jack is the direct opposite of Bridget’s former flame, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the debonair but uptight barrister that she fell in love with in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001), and broke up with in the less-than-stellar sequel “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” (2004).
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Twelve years later, he reappears in chance encounters at a memorial and a christening, and that rekindles their feelings for each other. But she is wary because of their rocky history, and their relationship has always been complicated. So who is daddy dearest?
No spoilers here, but the outcome is satisfying — well, for at least one faction.
Performances: The old gang is back together again, and that familiarity between characters, and the warmth between the quirky cast, deepens the dilemma.
The chemistry between Oscar winners Zellweger (“Cold Mountain”) and Firth (“The King's Speech”) is undeniable, and the familiarity between the characters deepens the dilemma. But that’s not to discount Dempsey, “McDreamy” on “Grey’s Anatomy,” who brings considerable appeal to the situation.
In the third go-round, Zellweger is lived in as Bridget, not a false move, and her accent is impeccable.
Oscar winner Emma Thompson (”Howard's End”) has the best lines as a cynical ob-gyn. Her dismissal of a man’s advice, “Think away the pain,” during labor is priceless.
What Works: The script, co-written by book author Fielding, Thompson and Dan Mazur, is bright and breezy, with snappy repartee and zesty quips. The return of director Sharon Maguire, who helmed the first one, helps considerably.
Fielding’s original book struck a chord with readers worldwide, and this return is carried out with aplomb. It is not just geared to single girls, but to all women, who can relate to numerous aspects, and men can find some takeaways, too.
The addition of work problems — when ironic bearded hipsters, some with man-buns, take over the hard news operation at Bridget’s channel and irritate the veterans — is an engaging subplot.
It’s a feel-good group hug kind of movie — as welcome as comfort food on a chilly day.
What Doesn’t Work: The soundtrack, while slick and mostly well-suited pop songs, is overstuffed. Less is more at times.
The labor scene is prolonged and realistic.
Spending time with these characters again is an absolute joy. Whether or not Bridget has found the perfect guy isn’t the point — the journey has us invested throughout the film.
‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’
Director: Sharon Maguire
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones
Rated: R for language, sexual references and some nudity