Movie Review: Bridget Jones's Baby

Renée Zellweger is finally back after a long absence from the screen

Bridget Jones's Baby
Directed by Sharon Maguire
With Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson

It has been over a decade since Renée Zellweger has graced the screen as Bridget Jones, the quirky but lovable woman who somehow is always alone for the holidays. She is back for the third installment in the series, and the title should say “spoiler alert.” Bridget Jones's Baby, unsurprisingly involves Jones becoming pregnant.

In previous films, Jones was caught between two men, Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver and Colin Firth as Mark Darcy. And in the intervening years, all three characters have moved on with their lives. Jones broke up with Darcy sometime after the promising events of the second film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, released in 2004.

Cleaver has left the picture almost completely, although he is mentioned in a crucial scene at the beginning. Hugh Grant was apparently unhappy with an early draft of the script, and left the project, causing it to be rewritten. Actress Emma Thompson was called in to overhaul of the script. She also appears in the film as Jones's gynecologist.

But don't worry, a new character steps in to take Cleaver's place. Patrick Dempsey plays Jack Qwant, a new love interest that Jones meets at a big multi-day music festival. Jones hooks up with Qwant, who she does not know and meets by chance, at the festival and then a few days later spend the night with her former love Darcy.

People who have read the title and looked at the poster can guess the next plot development — Jones becomes pregnant and does not know who the father is. A simple DNA test would solve this, but then there would be no film. Jones is afraid of the oversized amniocentesis needle and refuses the test.

Some of the plot is a but predictable, but actress Emma Thompson has one of the more amusing roles in the film as as Dr. Rawling, who is pressed in to helping Jones juggle her two paternity suspects.

Darcy and Qwant of course are opposites who don't attract. Their attempts to both be supportive of Jones are a source of awkward humor.

There is always an edge of sarcasm to the films in this series. Various aspects of modern culture get skewered. Jones still works in television news, and her station is being taken over by hipsters who consider her approach “olds” and not news. They prefer stories about cats that look like historical dictators and baseless, scaremongering headlines. It is amusing enough, even though it is an easy target for Jones to demolish with her charming ineptitude.

The characters have matured in the time since the previous film, which was a wise choice. Jones has retained the core of her personality but has grown up just a bit, and many of her friends have moved on to have their own families. The audience for the films has likely grown up as well, and can identify with the parenthood issues posed by the script.

Renée Zellweger has been out of the public eye almost completely since 2010, taking a hiatus for personal reasons. She is back in fine form in her signature role.

Bridget Jones's Baby is not a groundbreaking film, but it does have enough humor and at least a handful of unexpected plot twists. It feels more like an evening catching up with old friends who tell familiar jokes and stories.

There are hints of a sequel dropped near the end, and hopefully it won't take another decade for it to materialize, but they have to get the script right. Comedies about parents raising a small child are quite tricky.

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