All by herself – again
BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (M)
Director: Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary) Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Emma Thompson, Shirley Henderson, Jim Broadbent Verdict: One obvious expectation, no real surprises
BRIDGET Jones is back after a decade-plus holiday. Did you miss her? Well, if you’ve forgotten all about 2004’s dreadful Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, it is more than likely her return is a welcome one.
After all, 2001’s delightful Bridget Jones’s Diary remains every bit an enjoyable Brit-com guilty pleasure as Love, Actually.
So where does Bridget Jones’s Baby sit? Perhaps not all that surprisingly, it resides smack-bang in the middle of its predecessors.
The opening act is regulation reunion stuff. While Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is now 43 years old, she is very much the same Ms Jones: no man, no plan and no foreseeable change on the near horizon.
However, on the far horizon, changes are on the way. If we fastforward to the middle of the picture, Bridget is now pregnant and not so sure about who the father might be.
Two random trysts have left both dashing dating-app billionaire Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey) and longlost love Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) as candidates for possible parenthood.
Rather than sort out this snafu with a quick DNA test, our highly strung heroine keeps the guessing game going right up until the birth itself.
The wait until we finally hear the pitter-patter of little feet definitely goes on way too long here. Scenes padded out push the total running time past the two-hour mark, which is usually asking too much of even the most brilliant movie comedies.
Though Bridget Jones’s Baby can definitely provoke the occasional hearty laugh, enduring the aftermath of one embarrassing stumble after another gets a tad dull after a while.
Zellweger is an efficient anchor and keeps the title character endearingly likeable. However, there is a spark missing that is truly noticeable whenever Zellweger is one-on-one with either of her leading men.
A restrained Firth and a relatively too-eager-to-please Dempsey more or less cancel one another out in terms of impact. This leaves you wishing more scenes could have been cleared for a wonderful Emma Thompson, whose cynical bedside manner as Bridget’s incredulous doctor is a welcome distraction throughout.