Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Bridget Jones's Baby

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It's common in the film industry to go through the back catalogue looking for a box office hit, so it's not surprising one of our favourite "ordinary, everyday girls", Bridget Jones, has been wheeled out for a third time.

What's a delightful surprise though, is that this instalment captures the charm and hilarity of the original film, rather than the silly sequel, and presents a Bridget more likeable than ever.

Though you're unlikely to include Bridget Jones's Baby on your end of year "best of" list, it's certainly a fun Friday night film that will put a smile on your face, and help you forget your week.

Renee Zellweger returns as Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones' Baby with love interest Colin Firth as Mark Darcy.
Renee Zellweger returns as Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones' Baby with love interest Colin Firth as Mark Darcy.

Director Sharon Maguire (who directed the first film, but not the second) returns with a script written by Emma Thompson, Dan Mazer (Borat) and the novel's author Helen Fielding. Thompson also stars as Jones' obstetrician, and has written herself some scene-stealing lines, but everyone gets their moment, including Bridget's work bestie, television reporter Miranda (Sarah Solemani).

They work together on a hard news show for which Bridget is now a top producer. While Bridget's "happily ever after" didn't work out with Mr Darcy, she's skinny, successful and slightly less prone to counting calories and sulking about her life, even when she finds herself home alone on her birthday.

Miranda suggests a weekend away, and the girls head off to a Glastonbury-like music festival. Bridget, dressed in white and heels, immediately falls flat on her face in mud, only to be picked up by the dashing Jack (Dempsey), an American she has a romantic encounter with later on that evening.

To this point there's an unsettling feeling the broad humour may not hit its mark; the mud face-plant feels dated and forced. But once Miranda and Bridget get through an awkward encounter with Ed Sheeran, and have a few drinks, the humour relaxes and feels more natural. Watching them try to find each other in the mass of glamping yurts is hilarious.

Bridget is truly back on the horse when it comes to sex, having another one night-stand a week later with old flame Mark Darcy (Firth). Life, however, gets a little more complicated when she discovers she's up the duff and is unsure who the father is.

Renee Zellweger returns as Bridget Jones with Patrick Dempsey as another love interest, Jack Qwant in Bridget Jones' Baby.
Renee Zellweger returns as Bridget Jones with Patrick Dempsey as another love interest, Jack Qwant in Bridget Jones' Baby.

This story would be wrapped in much less than its 122 minutes if Bridget just took a paternity test, but instead we're subjected to a overly long spell of watching Jack and Mark outdo each other as the supportive and potential perfect father to Bridget's baby.

With Hugh Grant's character AWOL, Dempsey is the foppishly haired replacement, but neither Firth or Dempsey really get to shine until Bridget goes into labour, which gets funnier and funnier - it's the obligatory hysterical scene Bridget Jones's Baby will be remembered for.

Despite the recent debate about Renee Zellweger's looks, she remains undeniably Bridget Jones. She's a breath of fresh air; a character we can relate to because we recognise a little of ourselves in her.

Twelve years later, it's reassuring to see Bridget has matured somewhat, but also retains her sense of humour as she deals with life's ups and downs. There's no rush, but if she wanted to pop up again in another decade or so it would be great to catch up.

Cast: Renée Zellweger, Patrick Dempsey, Colin Firth
Director: Sharon Maguire Running
Time: 122 mins
Rating: M (Offensive language, sexual references)
Verdict: Forgettable good fun.

- TimeOut

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