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|Bridget Joness Baby|
dir Sharon Maguire
scr Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, Emma Thompson
prd Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward
with Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Sarah Solemani, Shirley Henderson, James Callis, Sally Phillips, Neil Pearson, Kate O'Flynn
release US/UK 16.Sep.16
16/UK Miramax 2h02
Momentary slapstick: Firth, Zellweger and Dempsey
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
After a 12-year-break London's most famous singleton is back. The good news is that this long-awaited sequel wraps up the trilogy with a gleeful flourish, thanks to a script that's smart, funny and unafraid of messy emotions. And after her own break from acting, Renee Zellweger is terrific in one of her most iconic roles. Bridget is as hapless and likeable as ever.
With a great job as a TV news producer, Bridget (Zellweger) is ok with being single and 43. To celebrate her birthday and spark her sex life, Bridget's colleague and best pal Miranda (Solemani) whisks her off to a music festival, where she has a lusty encounter with the dishy Jack (Dempsey). And then back in London she discovers that her ex Mark (Firth) is ending his marriage, so has a fling with him as well. The problem is that when she discovers that she's pregnant, she's not sure who the father is.
This may be a relatively simplistic farcical set-up, but the clever script mixes the comedy with drama and thematic resonance. Director Maguire keeps the tone buoyant and breezy, mixing the hilarious one-liners with surprisingly deep emotions, plus a bit of silly slapstick (and lots of wonky London geography). And the film continually breaks through the surface as it explores issues of identity and interconnection, plus a pointed jab at the inane direction new media is pushing the news.
Zellweger balances all of this perfectly as a woman on the verge of middle age, shaken out of her complacency by the chance to achieve a long-abandoned dream. Her scenes with Firth and Dempsey sizzle with chemistry, so the audience has a tough time rooting for one of these gorgeous men over the other. Is love a happy algorithm, as Jack's website suggests? Does Bridget's convoluted history with Mark mean something? The script may eventually reveal its preference, but getting there is a lot of fun.
Adding to the colourful atmosphere is a sparky cast of scene-stealers like Thompson (as Bridget's sarcastic doctor), Jones and Broadbent (as her blustery parents). Solemani has impeccable timing, and even Ed Sheeran delivers an amusing cameo. Basically everything is a nice surprise, mainly because the cast and crew refused to just sit back and coast on an old franchise. Instead they push Bridget forward in a way that's both relevant and entertaining. And the wonderfully twisty finale just about leaves the door open for more.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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