For a re­view of “Brid­get Jones’s Baby,”

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What a treat it is to dive back into the cozy world of Brid­get Jones, who is the kind of old friend you can pick up with right where it left off, no mat­ter how long it’s been. “Brid­get Jones’s Baby” opens with a fa­mil­iar scene for our pal: Brid­get (Re­nee Zell­weger) cel­e­brat­ing her birth­day alone to the tune of “All By My­self,” blow­ing out a can­dle on a sin­gle cup­cake, guz­zling white wine in her jam­mies. The pity party’s over soon enough though, as she skips the song and boo­gies in­stead to “Jump Around.” Has Brid­get Jones got­ten her groove back?

She does, in fact, have a groove, per­haps for the first time. She’s a pro­ducer on the tele­vi­sion pro­gram “Hard News,” still has her great group of friends, even though they’re now all sad­dled with kids, and has achieved her ideal weight. But Brid­get’s al­ways been one for self-im­prove­ment, so when it comes to her love life, she’s is de­ter­mined to make new mis­takes, not old ones.

Jack Quant (Pa­trick Dempsey), an Amer­i­can tech bil­lion­aire who has lever­aged his match-mak­ing al­go­rithm into a suc­cess­ful dat­ing app, is the per­fect new mis­take, as op­posed to old mis­take Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the fuss­bud­get worka­holic lawyer with whom things never worked out. Good thing Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) isn’t in the pic­ture this time around.

Brid­get has a ten­dency to self-sab­o­tage her ro­mances, but bi­ol­ogy doesn’t let her off the hook this time, and at 43, she finds her­self with child. Just who else is also with child in this sce­nario — Jack or Mark — is the ques­tion that’s up for de­bate in the film.

While the neu­roses of “Brid­get Jones” have al­ways been about bod­ies, “Baby” re­leases her from this anx­i­ety and flips the script, let­ting Brid­get re­claim the power of her own body. “Weight: who cares?” she types in her ubiq­ui­tous di­ary around Christ­mas­time, when she’s round­ing the bend on nine months preg­nant. She grew a hu­man with that body.

Part of what’s so re­fresh­ing about “Brid­get Jones’s Baby” is that at 43, Brid­get is ef­fort­lessly de­sir­able, sexy, ad­ven­tur­ous, and yes, adorable. The film just as­sumes this as fact, bal­anc­ing Brid­get’s wryly self-dep­re­cat­ing in­ner mono­logue along­side the ex­ter­nal per­spec­tive that sees her for the fetch­ing beauty that she is. Zell­weger plays Brid­get just as charm­ingly as she al­ways has — flawed but en­dear­ing; just right in her own idio­syn­cratic way.

This re­lat­able (if some­what as­pi­ra­tional) char­ac­ter comes not just from Zell­weger’s per­for­mance, but also from the as­sured di­rec­tion of Sharon Maguire, who helmed “Brid­get Jones’s Di­ary” in 2001, as well as the fast, fresh, and very funny screen­play. “Jones” au­thor He­len Field­ing col­lab­o­rated with Dan Mazer and Bri­tish na­tional trea­sure Emma Thomp­son (who also plays Brid­get’s ob-gyn) on the script. The jokes ref­er­ence beloved scenes from the first film, but it never feels like a re-hash of old ma­te­rial (they even man­age to draw laughs from a dated ref­er­ence to “Gang­nam Style”).

Yet it feels cur­rent be­cause they’ve al­lowed the char­ac­ter to grow. She’s still awk­ward and prone to em­bar­rass­ing foibles, but is older, wiser, com­fort­able in her own skin. Shock­ingly, it seems as though Brid­get has learned to live in the mo­ment. As Brid­get Jones dis­cov­ers her own kind of zen, it makes for a third in­stall­ment that proves to be v.v. sat­is­fy­ing.

“Brid­get Jones’s Baby,” a Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures re­lease, is rated R for lan­guage, sex ref­er­ences and some nu­dity. Run­ning time: 122 min­utes.

★★★ 

“Blair Witch”

It wasn’t a smart script or great act­ing that made “The Blair Witch Project” a box of­fice sen­sa­tion in 1999. It was the cre­ative way the movie was put to­gether and pro­moted that cre­ated buzz around the quirky in­de­pen­dent film.

Even be­fore “The Blair Witch Project” opened, there was a web­site and a ca­ble spe­cial that re­lated the story of a group of young peo­ple who went miss­ing in some Mary­land woods. The only thing left was shaky footage that gave an in­sight into their night of ter­ror and en­counter with some­thing in the dark.

The found-footage style was orig­i­nal when it was used with “The Blair Witch Project.” It not only of­fered a dif­fer­ent way of look­ing at a hor­ror film, it added to the sug­ges­tion that the movie was the prod­uct of a group of peo­ple with cam­eras run­ning for their lives that was fi­nally stitched to­gether. But to­day, it’s so overused it makes films an­noy­ing and look cheap.

In “Blair Witch,” a fol­lowup to the orig­i­nal movie, James (James Allen McCune) is the brother of Heather, the woman who went miss­ing in the orig­i­nal in­ci­dent. He wants to find out if there is a chance his sis­ter is still alive af­ter all these years. To keep the shaky footage style go­ing, James is joined by his friends who have agreed to shoot a doc­u­men­tary about the search. This time, the group is equipped with more high­tech gear, such as cam­eras that fit on their ear and a drone.

“Blah Witch” (oops, “Blair Witch”) then sets the group on their path of doom aided by a cou­ple of lo­cals who grew up near the woods.

This is the point where you will want to get up and go stand in a cor­ner so you don’t have to see the rest of this mess. Un­der the guid­ance of di­rec­tor Adam Win­gard, “Blair Witch” fol­lows the iden­ti­cal story line of the cam­pers get­ting lost and be­ing scared by loud noises and fig­ures made out of sticks. They be­gin to dis­ap­pear one by one un­til a fi­nal con­fronta­tion.

Un­less you have never seen “The Blair Witch Project,” ev­ery step of this film is go­ing to feel fa­mil­iar. Lit­tle fright­ens when each scene is so pre­dictable. The plot of the orig­i­nal film wasn’t that in­ter­est­ing, so re­hash­ing it is like a chef try­ing to make a seven-course meal out of wa­ter.

It’s not fair to talk about the lack of strong act­ing ef­forts since most of the time the ac­tors aren’t even on screen. In­stead, there is end­less footage of a light re­flect­ing of tree branches while some­one runs through the woods. If next year’s Os­cars has a cat­e­gory for Best Sup­port­ing Sapling, “Blair Witch” is a lock.

Si­mon Bar­rett is cred­ited as the writer. But surely a script must be longer than what can be writ­ten on a cock­tail nap­kin to earn such a credit. They ar­rive. They run. They die. Roll cred­its.

The key to the orig­i­nal movie was watch­ing the footage found af­ter the dis­ap­pear­ance. That gave the movie a slight touch of cred­i­bil­ity. No such ef­fort is made with “Blair Witch,” which is pre­sented like a stan­dard hor­ror movie where a group of young peo­ple end up in a place they shouldn’t be and sys­tem­at­i­cally get re­moved.

“Blair Witch” is noth­ing but a pale im­i­ta­tion of “The Blair Witch Project” — void of all cre­ativ­ity and orig­i­nal­ity. It’s so bad, it man­ages what should have been im­pos­si­ble and is far worse that “Book of Shad­ows: Blair Witch 2.” Even a dung bee­tle would find this too much of a stinker to en­dure.

“Blair Witch,” a Lion­s­gate re­lease, is rated R for dis­turb­ing im­ages, brief lan­guage. Run­ning time: 89 min­utes. Zero stars

Wes Robin­son, left, and Valo­rie Curry star in “Blair Witch,” a fol­low-up to “The Blair Witch Project.”

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