Two men and a klutzy, 43-year-old woman who can’t seem to get her life in order. What could possibly go wrong with that mix? Yes, Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is back after a 12 year absence. The British heroine is older, she’s now a TV news show producer, she’s swapped her diary for an iPad and she’s finally down to her goal weight. She still loves her chardonnay though, and she still has feelings for Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) even though they broke up five years earlier because he was too busy saving the world.
As BRIDGET JONES’S BABY opens, Bridge is celebrating her birthday all alone. Her friends have moved on but it seems she hasn’t. Both Shazzer (Sally Phillips) and Tom (James Callis) are busy with their families. And where is Daniel Cleaver, you ask? Hugh Grant opted out of this film so the writers had to do something with his character, which they did in the first ten minutes of the film. Bridget is all by herself, and in case you didn’t figure that out on your own, the film’s soundtrack blares Eric Carmen’s 1975 song, “All By Myself”, as she blows out the single candle on her red velvet cupcake.
To make up for not being there for Bridget on her birthday, Miranda (Sarah Solemani), her 30-something year old friend from work, takes Bridget to a Glastonbury-like festival where they plan to cut loose all weekend. After a few too many drinks and a snubbing of singer Ed Sheeran, Bridget loses Miranda and heads back to their yurt to crash. But she accidentally lands in the yurt occupied by handsome American, Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey, TV’s GREY’S ANATOMY), and the two end up rolling around in the sack together. A few days later and back in London, Bridget runs into Mark at a baby christening and it doesn’t take too long before she’s rolling around with him in one of their host’s bedrooms. Not surprisingly (for Bridget), a few weeks after that she learns that she’s pregnant but she doesn’t know if the father is Jack or Mark. And so begins Bridget’s latest journey as she tries to decide who she wants as her partner.
I think it’s wonderful that in 2016 we can see a movie about a single, career woman who doesn’t think twice about keeping her baby when she finds out she’s pregnant but why did the screenwriters have to ruin it by having Bridget make these two saps jump through hoops for six months as they try to win her love? Why couldn’t she just say to the men, “I’m having this baby whether you’re in the picture or not. Now just f*** off and let me get on with it!”? (Bridget uses the “F” word a lot in this film so it’s within the realm of possibility that she would use it here too.) Instead, we have scene after scene of Jack and Mark trying to outdo each other for Bridget’s affections. Who will she choose – the dashing, rich American Internet maven or the handsome, altruistic British lawyer?
This is clearly a film for romantics, which I suppose I am not. Nor am I in the film’s target demographic. At the press screening I attended, the room was filled with mostly 30-something year old women who laughed at each of Bridget’s mishaps… and, in true Bridget fashion, there are plenty. At 28, it’s endearing; at 43, it’s annoying.
Equally annoying is the film’s music that plays like the soundtrack of Bridget’s life. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the screenwriters chose the songs first and then wrote a script around all the lyrics. So, when Bridget thinks out loud, we have Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”. When she’s messing around with Mark, we have Ellie Goulding’s “Still Falling For You”. And when she’s fed up, we have Lily Allen’s “F*** You”. It’s all too obvious.
Director Sharon Maguire apparently shot three different endings to keep the real ending secret but even non-romantics like me could easily figure out who Bridget chooses. But will she live happily ever after with her choice? That’s the question we’re all left with in the film’s final scene.
If you’re a 30-something, female, romantic, you will love this film. If not, it will be like having root canal.
Listen to the review online on Radio 4. (Click on the link. Select Part 2 and slide the time bar over to 28:50.)
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