FILM REVIEW: BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (15)

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SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: RENEE ZELLWEGER, COLIN FIRTH, PATRICK DEMPSEY, SARAH SOLEMANI, EMMA THOMPSON, JIM BROADBENT, GEMMA JONES, AGNI SCOTT, JULIAN RHIND-TUTT, SALLY PHILLIPS, JOANNA SCANLAN, NEIL PEARSON, SHIRLEY HENDERSON, PATRICK MALAHIDE, KATE O’FLYNN, CELIA IMRIE & ED SHEERAN

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 3 MINS

DIRECTOR: SHARON MAGUIRE

After a 12-year hiatus there would have been justifiable fears that Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Co were just back to milk the Bridget Jones ‘cash cow’ – by potentially providing a half-baked sequel.

But this surprisingly passes the ‘pessimism’ test by providing a couple of hours of consistently British-influenced comedy-laden entertainment that is closer in terms of quality to the 2001 original than the lacklustre 2004 first sequel.

Oscar winners Zellweger (Cold Mountain) and Firth (The King’s Speech) both reprise their iconic roles as Bridget and Mark Darcy respectively, with Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey replacing Hugh Grant’s Daniel Cleaver – who’s absence gets explained in a noteworthy early sequence – as secondary love interest and online romance guru Jack Qwant.

Now well into her forties (43 to be exact) the hapless British media executive is lonely and single again after finally breaking up with Darcy after an on-off relationship over the past ten years.

So work colleague and pal Miranda (impressive rising British star Sarah Solemani from TV series Him & Her) whisks the downtrodden Bridget to a music festival – cue publicity vehicle for Ed Sheeran which just about works in an uneasy fashion – where she inadvertently bumps into Qwant and ends up having an alcohol-fuelled one night stand.

Then likewise does the same with Darcy at friend’s christening the following week, ends up falling pregnant, and it’s 50/50 who the father is – leaving to a 2016 twist on the Three Men and a Baby-esque theme.

And while the film does threaten to drag a touch, and become a bit self indulgent at times, it deserves immense props for delivering more laughs than distressing contractions.

It also manages to not only be a movie for just the female demographic – or fans of Helen Fielding’s famous character – but offers more than enough for the fellas, too, due to its impressive quota of generally notable comedic set pieces.

It has taken more in little old Britain than the whole of America in its opening weekend – which will undoubtedly put a fourth entry at risk – so if this is the last instalment in the series then Bridget definitely exits with her integrity intact.

And therefore comes highly recommended that you go and see her final big push.

Rating: 4/5

Gavin Miller