Bridget Jones’s Baby – Review (***)

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If you ever thought your life wouldn’t be complete without seeing Jim Broadbent take a dump or Emma Thompson talk about clenching her sphincter, Bridget Jones’s Baby just might be the film for you. All jokes aside, though it’s easy to sneer down your nose at a belated, totally unnecessary second sequel, this is a surprisingly enjoyable – if absolutely overlong – third film.

Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is now 43 years of age and single after breaking up with her betrothed, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), but finds her joie de vivre renewed following a chance hookup with dreamboat American billionaire Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey). Bridget subsequently falls pregnant, but due to having successive trysts with both Mark and Jack, she can’t be sure who the father is, or who she wants to be with.

It’s probably reasonable for many to approach this sequel with a little apprehension, given the time that has passed as well as the fact that a pregnancy is a fairly perfunctory, sitcom-esque means to give Bridget another go-around with audiences. That said, the screenwriting brain-trust of the books’ author Helen Fielding, Oscar nominee Dan Mazer (Borat) and Emma Thompson (who also appears in a small role as a doctor) takes this pat premise and imbues it with a surprisingly amount of humour and even a sliver of heart, as well as plenty of nostalgic flourishes that’ll be pure catnip for fans of the character.

Zellweger and Firth slip effortlessly back into their roles, while Dempsey is shrewdly cast as the unbelievably handsome object of Bridget’s affections, Sarah Solemani is a delight as Bridget’s co-worker and friend Miranda, and Thompson steals almost every scene she’s in, delivering a savage one-liner in the third act that’s probably the funniest thing from any of the three movies.

That said, it is an indulgent sequel like so many misty-eyed follow-ups tend to be, running excessively long at 123 minutes and occasionally casting logic to the wind in favour of a cheap laugh. The sitcom-caliber gags are usually accompanied by something a bit smarter, though, so the balance is fairly solid.

It doesn’t serve up many surprises and teases a far more interesting and progressive resolution than the decidedly safe one we get, but it’s hard to imagine most fans of the previous two movies not going hook, line and sinker for this well-acted and consistently funny trilogy-capper.

**

Bridget Jones’s Baby is in cinemas now

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