Magazine article Screen International

'Bridget Jones's Baby': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Bridget Jones's Baby': Review

Article excerpt

Dir. Sharon Maguire. UK, 2016. 122 mins.

Depending on which side of the age divide viewers fall, Bridget Jones's Baby will either be viewed as charmingly retro or irredeemably irrelevant. And that's clearly a concern for the film-makers, who amp Renee Zellweger's dim British middle-class klutz up to deafening levels while falling back on the formula which propelled Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) to global success. One hapless heroine, two suitors, and, in this case, an unexpected pregnancy.

This long-gestating project - Hugh Grant was at one point slated to co-star, before making way for Patrick Dempsey - bears no relation to author and co-screenwriter Fielding's own printed resurrection of Bridget last year, where she killed offMark Darcy and lefther heroine as a dating single mother of two. Instead, Colin Firth re-appears as Bridget's one true love, the story being that they have long since separated due to the British barrister's obsession with saving the world. Grant's slimy publisher Daniel Cleaver has - literally - vanished into thin air, and he is replaced by the hunky American dating guru Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey).

So Bridget is back where she started, more than 20 years after Fielding first invented her for a column in The Independent, landing in cinemas at the very tail end of a summer which has also re-birthed her TV counterpart Absolutely Fabulous for the big screen. The end results are similar: fitfully-funny nostalgia viewing which sits a little awkwardly in 2016.

Zellweger oozes neurotic charm as the 43 year-old Chardonnay-soaked singleton, who has remarkably learned nothing in the twenty years since her creation. She's still on her own, even as her friends have paired offand, even more remarkably, given she's fatally accident-prone at work, has risen to the role of executive producer for a nightly TV news show (Bridget Jones' Baby also rather stridently rails against the media's loss of integrity, a somewhat disingenuous message from a studio sequel). …

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