‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ (2016): A new twist on an old tale
“Bridget Jones’s Baby” (2016) opens with a familiar scene: Bridget Jones, alone on the couch with an egregiously large glass of wine and Jamie O’Neal’s rendition of “All By Myself” blasting aptly in the background. In accordance with the previous two films, she’s sad, she’s lonely and it just so happens to be her birthday.
Tired of successive evenings spent alone, Bridget is whisked away for a weekend at a music festival by her friend and colleague, Miranda (Sarah Solemani). While there, she meets a good-looking American named Jack, played by Patrick Dempsey, and they spend the night together after Bridget drunkenly stumbles into his tent.
Less than a week after her night with Jack, Bridget bumps into Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth, her married ex. The encounters between the two are just awkward enough to make the audience cringe but also laugh at the relatability of the circumstances — how does one act when one sees someone in public he or she really didn’t want to see? The most cringe-worthy encounter occurs at a baptism at which Bridget and Mark are the godparents; Mark hesitantly kisses Bridget after being told to “give her a kiss on the forehead” by the photographer, only to realize that the photographer meant the baby and not Bridget. Following a conversation during which Mark professes that he and his wife are separated, Bridget and Mark finally spend the night together, an event the audience has been silently rooting for since their first encounter.
As the title suggests, Bridget soon finds out she is pregnant from Emma Thompson’s refreshingly hilarious Dr. Rawlings, who sees straight through Bridget’s attempts to hide the fact that there are two possible fathers.
From there, the plotline takes on the typical arc of two men fighting for one woman. The next 40 minutes or so seem more like a 30-second montage than anything, and at times the film feels entirely too similar to every other name brand romantic comedy. However, the cheesiness is made up for by the fact that both men are worthy adversaries — there’s no clear answer to Bridget’s conundrum, and the audience remains absorbed in the battle that ensues. Both men have their issues— Jack’s concept of love is based off of an algorithm that he created — the semi-self-titled “Qwantify” — which is basically eHarmony on steroids, while Mark always seems to find himself buried in his work and takes calls instead of making time for his personal life. That being said, Jack is surprisingly romantic and brings Bridget flowers, furniture and other feel-good items that make her pregnancy a lot smoother, while Mark is surprisingly determined to be the best father to Bridget’s baby he can, showing up to all of her Lamaze and bringing Bridget whatever she needs.
At times, “Bridget Jones’s Baby” comes dangerously close to feeling like a repeat of “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” with Bridget having to choose between two men of her dreams while trying to retain control of both her job and her high-strung mother running for local office. The movie uses multiple outlets to tread lightly on serious themes, such as the free speech and women’s rights march that hinders everyone’s ability to get to Bridget’s birth, as well as Bridget’s mother’s increasingly progressive platform that supports “single moms and most homosexuals.” Even so, the movie in and of itself is lighthearted and fun and doesn’t leave the audience feeling distressed or deep in thought after watching it. It’s no philosophical masterpiece, but it’s a lot of fun. Bridget’s witty and self-deprecating narrative of the events unfolding throughout the movie (in addition to the events themselves) supply viewers with plenty of hearty laughs.
“Bridget Jones’s Baby” is playing at The Nugget and theaters nationwide.