By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review has been 12 years in the making… finally we have the third (and more than likely final) instalment of the Bridget Jones saga.
I caught Bridget Jones’s Baby at the Phoenix Leicester in a packed and pumped theatre with an atmosphere to match.
I think I was the only cinema-goer concerned with what quality was about to come, but should I have been worried?
In short, no; but come on… everyone was thinking same!
Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is back and ready to make more mistakes. This time, it’s over a decade since we last saw her as we join Bridget on her 43rd birthday. She needs a bit of a fun in her life after spending much of the last 10 years alone working alongside pretty news presenters as a producer of their shows.
We first see pyjama-clad Bridget singing the familiar tune of "All By Myself" on her sofa and this reminds the audience just how much we’ve missed her… and the mishaps aren’t too far away. After being invited on a girly weekend (Glastonbury!!), she meets American hunk Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey) who sweeps her off her feet for the night. Then, a few days later at a christening, Bridget is swept off her feet yet again by old flame Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). With one thing leading to another, Jones ends up pregnant but doesn’t have a clue who the father is – enter a hilarious journey.
Zellweger slots straight back into character as the clumsy, British Bridget seamlessly with her damsel in distress ways. This time however, Renée provides a thinner version of Bridget with a great career blossoming. She seems to be so close to having the perfect life but just one thing eludes her… a man. Mark Darcy played by the painfully British Colin Firth returns but perhaps a little out of reach. Bridget also has an American admire in Patrick Dempsey’s Jack Qwant who is great addition to the franchise after Hugh Grant declined to bring back Daniel Cleaver.
Patrick gives the film a new American edge and opens up avenues for jokes that can played on both sides of the Atlantic. Colin Firth is still the good egg and always will be. His role of the straight, British gent is once again nailed, but let’s face it, Colin is playing himself! Although it’s Renée that is the impressive component here for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it has been 12 years since she last donned the enormous grannie pants and – I mean this well – it’s like she never left. The accent is still there, the facial expressions are still there and her connect-ability is still as poignant as ever. She also enters this third film off a terrible prequel. The Edge of Reason was dire compared to the first so following that mess would have been a risk. The final reason is the media. She has had to deal with a lot in the past few years from the press and it could have easily affected her. I’m not saying it hasn’t but you would never tell from her stellar performance.
Nevertheless, there’s an English darling I must talk about. Emma Thompson lights up this movie in two departments. Her midwife character is as dry as a desert but as funny as can be. She steals every scene she is in. But Thompson also did a bit more with this ‘threequel’. She co-wrote the third instalment which is a daunting task to do but my word she pulls it off.
Sharon Maguire also deserves credit. The director was brought back from the first film to guide this movie to box office glory; and I believe she will. Her ‘outside looking in’ kind of directing is welcomed back with open arms. She always films these movies as if the audience is looking at Bridget with everyone else on screen, but somehow lets us in a little further. We see what everyone else doesn’t see. It’s perfect for a rom-com.
On the whole, it serves as a great way to sew the characters and narratives up. It may be a little sentimental at times but it’s also a hoot. There’s definitely a door ajar for a fourth but why would you? Leave this third instalment as a parting gift because it’s probably the best in the series.
Cineroom’s Rating: 4 Stars
Bridget Jones’s Diary is currently showing at the Phoenix Leicester – certificate 15