Forty-something singleton Bridget Jones discovers she is pregnant, but is unsure as to the identity of the father, in this romantic comedy sequel
Director: Sharon Maguire
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Emma Thompson
Release date: September 16, 2016
Running time: 123 mins
It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that the second Bridget Jones movie back in 2004 was a crushing disappointment, suffering from an uneven tone, a surfeit of mugging and a poorly-conceived script.
Whether or not Edge of Reason’s abject failure is the reason we’ve had to wait a whole twelve years for a third movie is open to debate, but the good news is that, thanks to the return of Bridget Jones’ Diary director Sharon Maguire, this long-awaited follow-up is a worthy ‘threequel’ that captures the spirit of the original movie.
Back with a vengeance
Completely diverging from the premise of author Helen Fielding’s third novel (2013’s Mad About the Boy), the film catches up with a now 43 year-old Bridget (Renée Zellweger), who’s single once again and still working in live TV, though she’s now a producer.
Urged by a colleague to put herself out there, Bridget ends up bedding a handsome American billionaire (Patrick Dempsey) she meets at a music festival.
Ten days later, Bridget also sleeps with newly-divorced-love-of-her-life Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), only to find herself pregnant – but unsure as to which of her two suitors is the father.
Right from the opening credits sequence, it’s clear that Renée Zellweger (herself absent from screens for six years) is back with a vengeance, taking a key moment from the original movie and turning it on its head in hilarious fashion.
As such, she’s on delightful comic form throughout, getting big laughs with both physical and verbal comedy (she has a line about glamping that will have you snorting with mirth) and effectively reawakening the love for the character that was there in the first film.
Industrial strength comic relief
Happily, all the familiar supporting characters (with the exception of Hugh Grant, whose absence is turned into a blackly comic joke) are present and correct (with a special shout-out to Gemma Jones as Bridget’s Mum) and the chemistry between Firth and Zellweger is as strong as ever.
Of the newer cast members, Dempsey comfortably holds his own against both his co-stars and has some funny moments, while there’s some industrial strength comic relief from Solemani and Emma Thompson, in a self-penned role as Bridget’s one-liner-dispensing nurse.
Working from a script by Fielding, Thompson and Dan Mazer (Borat), Maguire keeps things ticking along at a decent pace and ensures that you’re never too far from a decent laugh, while the story works surprisingly well, finding room for a few neat jabs at targets like Bridget’s hipster colleagues or entertainment-driven news bulletins.
Laugh-out-loud funny, emotionally engaging and superbly acted, this is a welcome return for one of Britain’s best-loved comic characters.