Renee Zellweger returns to top form in the much better than expected Bridget Jones's Baby. After a successful first film and absolutely terrible second installment, her third outing as Helen Fielding's irrepressibly charming and daft Londoner is a winner. Bridget's character is amongst the rarest of animals seen in the wilds of the silver screen: a childless, forty-something, single woman. The film is a glib romcom, but it speaks to an entire generation of working-class women. Her journey to motherhood will have you laughing out loud.
We pick up with Bridget Jones on her forty-third birthday. She's single, hasn't had sex in ages, and all of her friends are married with children. But she takes it all in stride. Bridget has a great career, lost a lot of weight, and has accepted her life as a modern SPILF; per her ribbing friends. A fateful weekend out turns her entire world upside. She meets a handsome stranger (Patrick Dempsey) at a music festival. After a few hilarious circumstances, her carnal dry streak abruptly ends. Cue to a couple days later at a baby christening, Bridget runs into her ex-boyfriend, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). The old flame burns hot into a night of passion. The situation becomes even more complex when Bridget discovers she is pregnant. Apparently the decade old box of bio-degradable vegan condoms didn't quite do the job. Bridget finds herself pursued by two amazing suitors, but doesn't know who the father is.
Bridget decides to keep the baby. The cavalcade of emotions she deals with is both humorous and strikingly honest. Bridget knows that she can raise the child herself, but does want the baby to have a relationship with his father. This movie has a lot of heart. For all the goofy situations, dirty jokes, and dry British humor, Bridget Jones's Baby works as a love story thanks to director Sharon Maguire. Her possible baby daddies aren't upset. They adore her and each ardently wants to be the father. So the greatest of irony is after all this time, Bridget is going to be a mother with the difficult choice of choosing the right man. It's romcom gold.
Renee Zellweger took a long break from acting before coming back for this role. She made a great choice to reprise Bridget Jones. It's rare for an American actress to play a British role so successfully. Zellweger has keen comedy instincts. She makes Bridget feel real and likeable. Her bumbling responses to life's curveballs preach to the beauty of imperfection. Now to be fair, the entire situation depicted is completely untenable in reality. But the fantasy is witty, warm, and very entertaining.
Arrving from MiraMax, StudioCanal and Working Title, Bridget Jones's Baby is the date movie of the year. Women will love this film, but to all the spouses and boyfriends dragged along; it's totally worth seeing. Another feather in the cap for the filmmakers is the runtime. Bridget Jones's Baby clocks in at a bit over two hours. It moves at a good pace that never felt boring. The Light Between Oceans was just a bit longer and felt like a decade in prison. I do hope this is the last we see of this character. It would be a fantastic end for Bridget to be a doting mom with the man of her dreams...whoever that may be.