Sunday, 25 September 2016

Bridget Jones's Baby (2016)

The main character holding a tablet
Baby Love

Director: Sharon Maguire
Running Time: 123 Minutes
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson, Sally Phillips, James Callis, Shirley Henderson, Sarah Solemani, Neil Pearson, Ed Sheeran

Now aged 43, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is at her target weight, single, and a top television producer. She also doesn't have a lot going on in her life, until discovering she's pregnant. However, she's unsure if the father's her ex, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), or kindly matchmaker Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey).

With how effortlessly she slips back into the role, one wouldn't have thought it's been 12 years since Renée Zellweger portrayed the eponymous character. The Texan born effortlessly returns to the British accent, remaining utterly charming and easily likeable as Bridget Jones, the role she scored her first Academy Award nomination for.

Colin Firth remains a terrific presence as Mark Darcy, with his chemistry with Zellweger remaining as compelling as ever. Patrick Dempsey portrays Jack Qwant, a suitor for Bridget who seems perfect on paper, but when brought to screen, comes off as rather vanilla. One misses the antics of Hugh Grant's Daniel Cleaver, but realistically, it makes sense for Bridget to not fall for him a third time.

Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones feel underutilised as Bridget's parents, but come off utterly committed to their roles whenever they're on-screen. Considering her part in writing the script, one wouldn't be surprised if Emma Thompson intentionally gave her Doctor character all of the best lines. But one can't complain so much, when she delivers each humorous piece of dialogue with aplomb.

Image result for bridget jones baby
With a cast clearly up for anything which comes their way, it's a shame they're saddled with such middle of the road affair. Many plot devices come around in such a clumsy manner that'll cause much rolling of the eyes, while the physical comedy is delivered in such a half-hearted manner. A prat-fall in the mud feels especially cheap, while other comedic attempts feel rather hit and miss. A trip to a music festival often feels like an extended Ed Sheeran cameo, while a scene involving Gangnam Style feels rather antiquated.

At the centre of it, Bridget's focus isn't on which of the men she wants to be in a relationship with, but what's best for her baby. Thankfully delivered half-way through the picture, rather than as a last act revelation, it's a welcome change which shows where priorities lie for our lead character. When the finale comes around, the jokes are delivered with a much more consistent hit ratio. A moment involving a revolving door proves to be a highlight, as well as a hilarious piece of physical comedy. It's a shame the rest of the picture couldn't match this finale.

With a game cast, it's a shame Bridget Jones's Baby often feels like a middle of the road affair. If only the magic of the finale was replicated in the rest of the picture, but thankfully our lead remains a pleasant and endearing presence.

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