By: Muneeb Arshid
I’m sure the only reason that was needed for specific fans to go watch Bridget Jones’s Baby, was the fact that McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) himself has a major starring role in the film. There would be no other reason for the specific demographic of 18-65 year-old women to go watch the next installment in this series. Okay, fine, the old movies might have drawn some of the crowd back this time around, but it certainly helps that the former Grey’s Anatomy star is in this film.
Yes, we are back with Bridget Jones and her shenanigans once again, 12 years after the previous film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Bridget is now considerably older, “slightly” socially pressured about not really having her love life straightened out, to a point that she is starting to feel quite self-conscious about that fact. We’re reintroduced to Bridget as she is celebrating her 43rd birthday, alone at her house after all her friends stand her up because of various “parenting” duties for the night. At that point, she makes a vow that “things are going to change.” Well, they do considerably, as the title of the movie suggests with Bridget going about having a baby. However, there is a massive conundrum with that fact as well. Who is the father?
The trailers have not been shy about giving away the conceit of the film, that Bridget goes from no men in her life to two men, either of who n could possibly be the father of her child. One is the aforementioned Patrick Dempsey and his billionaire, mathematician, matchmaking guru character Jack while the other is her childhood friend and former fling, hot-shot political lawyer Mark (Colin Firth). Ensue the madness of the next 90 minutes where jokes are said, and two men are in a competition to “out-man” and “out-father” each other to win both Bridget’s heart but also to win that genetics battle of “Whose kid is it anyways?” Each man is making sure to be in Bridget’s life in various ways all in the name of “competition,” from going to pre-natal classes, to being at the ultrasound sessions at the doctors, to setting up and painting the baby’s nursery.
The film entirely rests upon the hijinx that ensue between the characters, not the just the main cast but the supporting characters as well. Some of the funniest bits come because of the supporting cast and the comedic timing of the film. Emma Thompson plays Dr. Rawlings and her character and the situations that her character is put through are some of the most hilarious bits of the film. A gag that has been extensively played out in theatres is the ultrasound sequence where Rawlings has to do two ultrasounds and two gender reveals as the “dads” are not yet aware of their impending predicament. The problem is that she’s in the film for maybe 10 minutes maximum. Bridget’s best friend and news anchor, Miranda (Sarah Solemani), also has great moments in the film, these being “occupationally challenged” comedic moments. Renée Zellweger, on the other hand, is very hard to believe as a 40-some odd year-old expecting mother. I don’t know if it’s all that facial work she’s had done, but it actually looked like it physically hurt for her to do facial expressions.
The intense rivalry between the two men is quite genuine for the most part. These are two men who couldn’t be more different from each other but also are very similar in many regards. Patrick Dempsey has really fallen nicely into this whole, middle-aged, “make the women swoon” type of role. The audience that I watched the film with comprised mostly of middle-aged women who literally swooned the first time Dempsey’s Jack shows up on screen. Colin Firth, on the other hand, is the uncomfortable, yet slightly adorable, childhood friend of Bridget who seems to be on the fringe of whether he truly wants to be in a relationship with her or not. However, the competition with Jack also brings out his true emotions about the situation and see his character decide his ultimate decision about the entire ordeal.
There are issues with the film, most notable being the length of the film. At 2 hours, it is quite an ordeal as there are long bits of the movie where the pacing falls apart and it easily goes 10 minutes with a dry spell. However, once the film hits its comedic point, it really does get that point. The ending of the film was also a bit of a sore spot for me as it tries its hardest to wrap up all the endings in a nice, neat bow. The movie wants to make sure that all the characters get the best ending possible, which is none more evident than the last shot, which so clearly sets up a possible sequel to this film. The supporting characters, who are great for the most, are sorely lacking for large bits of the film which also aides in that dryness due to the pacing.
For fans of the series, this is not the worst film out there. It’s actually one that many will find quite entertaining. I was quite surprised as to how many actual laughs there are in the film. It’s also important to remember that a film of this genre could have gone horribly wrong a la Sex and the City 2 or Eat Pray Love (Vomit).
We, at TFL, give Bridget Jones’s Baby a surprising good grade of C+ (6.6/10)