“A long and bloated affair”

by Steve Pulaski

For actress Renée Zellweger, perhaps Bridget Jones’s Babyis an important landmark in her career. It’s her first acting role in six years, for one, and what better way to return to your profession than by reprising your most recognizable and beloved character, who in and of herself, likely represents a larger number of women than you’d believe? For audiences, who haven’t seen nor heard from Bridget in cinemas in twelve years, believe it or not, it comes as a belated consolation prize and little else.

Or perhaps that’s just me talking. I feel I got my fix with the conclusion of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. I also feel that I could’ve pragmatically and fittingly concluded the Bridget Jones “cinematic universe” without the need for the birth of a trilogy, but apparently, others felt otherwise.Bridget Jones’s Baby, for some particular reason, doesn’t feel much like a Bridget Jones film. Maybe it’s Zellweger’s drastically different appearance that looks and feels if she’s outgrown such a character. Maybe it’s the general look of the film, that resembles a drama in dark-contrast moreso than a romantic comedy. Or maybe it’s just the fact that this didn’t need to be a trilogy of films. Either way, it’s a disappointing miss.

Bridget Jones’s Baby
Directed by
Sharon Maguire
Renée Zellweger, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent
Release Date
16 September 2016
Steve’s Grade: D+

The film opens with a familiar shot – Bridget Jones sitting alone, listening to music, celebrating her birthday by her lonesome, accompanied only by the pathetic sight of a cupcake with a single, crooked candle. Since we last saw her, not only has the attractive square Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) broken up with her to marry someone else, but Daniel Cleaver, the perverted boss of Jones at the newspaper she once worked for, has died in a strange accident.

Bridget, who now works as a producer at a reputable news station, looks for solace in Miranda (Sarah Solemani), her best-friend, on her birthday, as the two decide to go to a Lollapalooza-like concert and spend some time camping. This is where Bridget meets and sleeps with Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), a hugely successful writer, who has spent his entire life pinpointing and exploiting the “algorithm of love.” Not long after her return from the concert, she also has sex with Mark, following a relative’s daughter’s christening, upon learning that Mark and her wife are planning a divorce. After all that, Bridget comes to realize she’s pregnant, with two very probable fathers, both of whom used age-old condoms that presumably broke during intercourse. The film follows the laborious pregnancy Bridget undergoes, in addition to her trying, through DNA tests, to determine who the father of her child is.

As stated, for some particular reason, whether it be the great length of time to get this sequel made or just the general look of the picture, this film doesn’t feel nor operate like the presumed Bridget Jones sequel. It could quite possibly have to do with the fact that the film features the uglier, more tabloid-centric subplot of a woman not knowing the father of her baby due to multiple sexual partners, something even I couldn’t have foreseen for our quite-frequently lovable titular character. Whatever the case may be, something doesn’t click, and it offsets the entire film’s tone and effectiveness.

It could also be the fact that while Dempsey is charming and affable in a spontaneous manner, he can’t compete with the general unpredictability of Hugh Grant’s Daniel nor is he even half as intriguing. We get why Bridget could be so smitten with him, but Dempsey’s Jack never extends past caricature-territory, again, providing a failed substitute for Grant’s devilishly entertaining Daniel.

The minor issues that plague Bridget Jones’s Baby, such as it generally being a long and bloated affair, on top of Bridget’s labor and subsequent delivery scene going on for far, far too long, all seem like inevitable features that were bound to plague such a belated sequel. This is merely the case of “too little, too late” or “too dated, too late” even, and once we see how desperately Bridget Jones’s Baby wants to push yet another sequel, we simply have to hold our breath to prevent ourselves from asking – where were you in 2008?