At the movies: ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
BRIDGET JONES’S BABY
* * * (B)
Directed By Sharon Maguire
Starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Sarah Solemani, Emma Thompson, Kate O’Flynn
Universal, Rated R, Comedy, 122 minutes
In the third installment of her whimsical life, Bridget, now 43, finds herself alone on her birthday because her old gang of friends have parental responsibilities. Bridget’s one unattached friend is Miranda (Sarah Solemani), a pretty, unencumbered 30-something who espouses no interest in men beyond their use for a good “shafting.”
Bridget, previously played with spunk and wit, by Renee Zellweger, remains witty, if less spunky. She’s now the executive producer of a softball news show, ironically calling itself, “Hard News.” On the plus side, Bridget works closely with Miranda, the show’s anchor, making Miranda look smart by feeding her interview questions for their special guests.
While Miranda prepares the introduction of Bridget to a free-spirited, sexual lifestyle, Bridget becomes concerned about her career because Alice (Kate O’Flynn) — a severe, new young boss — is appointed to reinvent “Hard News.”
With the prospect of change in the air, Bridget accepts Miranda’s invitation to the Glastonbury music festival. After adorably tripping face first in the mud upon arrival at the festival, Bridget is rescued by the equally adorable Jack (Patrick Dempsey). A concert and many drinks later, Bridget accidentally wanders into Jack’s yurt, and after a night of good shafting she awakens to find him gone. Pleased to have enjoyed a romp free of emotional entanglements, Bridget returns to regular life where she now gamely confronts the impossible task of maintaining journalistic standards while incorporating Alice’s demands for a Karoke style news app.
A few days later, Bridget finds herself at a party with her old flame Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). He pursues and wins a night of sweet coupling with Bridget, but the next morning she slinks away, leaving a carefully written goodbye note next to his bed.
Disappointed in herself for making an old mistake when she’d meant to only make new ones, Bridget enters a new territory three months later, upon learning she’s as many months pregnant. Uncertain regarding the baby’s paternity, Bridget unsuccessfully seeks answers from her OB-GYN (Emma Thompson — also one of the script writers). In lieu of knowing who is her baby daddy, Bridget lets both men know she is pregnant, informing each she is asking him for nothing.
Darcy, now a member of parliament, is thrilled and hopes he and Bridget can marry and raise the child. Unexpectedly, Jack wants to be with Bridget as well, and can easily afford the tab since he’s the wealthy American founder of a wildly successful dating website.
Even after learning about the other potential father, each man continues to pursue Bridget. We’d like to root for Darcy, but he doesn’t make it easy, having become more pessimistic and repressed than ever. Jack, as the prospective dad, at least offers a creative spirit and enthusiastic that seems utterly infectious. Amidst all this competition, the script holds out a slim hope Bridget might consider single parenthood.
The remainder of the film consists of vignettes covering the next six months, when it appears that Bridget will never decide what she wants because she invites both Mark and Jack to accompany her to checkups, sonograms and birthing classes.
Though both men are entirely too patient and honorable, by the third act Bridget’s lack of direction becomes tiresome. In describing Darcy as a man she was in love with for 10 years, and Jack as a man she might fall in love with someday, we begin to wonder whether she capable of making any decision.
More romantic drama then comedy, the best scenes are reserved for Thompson’s doctor’s thinly veiled disapproval about Bridget’s lack of direction. Yes, eventually a decision will be made, one that blends Jones’s unconscious process with luck of the draw. The film is pleasant enough, but it lacks the gumption to make Bridget think things through. “Bridget’s Jones’s Baby,” delivers a pretty good movie, but not the bouncing R-Rated baby of a film we were expecting.