Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016) – reviewed by George

As good as they were, this film is funnier than the two Bridget Jones films that preceded it. I think the maturity of the principal characters and the addition of Emma Thompson to the writing staff are the major reasons for this. With thanks to Randy Newman and his theme for “Monk”: I could be wrong now – but I don’t think so.
It is Bridget’s 43rd birthday, and we first hear the strains of “All by Myself” as we home in on Bridget (Renee Zellweger) holding a cupcake with a lit candle stuck in it. She blows out the candle, then grimaces and turns off whatever device is the source of the song. After all, it deals with a situation she has already decided not to wallow in.
Now we go back to the morning, and birthday greetings from Mum and Dad (Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent) on a cellphone Mum is not yet adept at using. Then on to a church for the funeral of Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), whose plane crashed in a jungle. Bridget is just slightly late and hurries to sit with Shazzer (Sally Phillips) and Jude (Shirley Henderson). She is quickly informed that “They found the flight recorder, but no bodies”. Then who should walk into the church but Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) with his wife Camilla (Agni Scott).
Next on to work where Bridget is now a top news producer. Turns out a destructive team of self-important people has been assigned to Bridget’s program “Hard News” to make some changes, hard news no longer being fashionable. The leader of the team is Alice Peabody (Kate O’Flynn), very tightly wound, like her hairdo. Bridget has an on-air reporter/interviewer for her show, Miranda (Sarah Solemani). They are great chums, and Bridget keeps Miranda on target by feeding her questions through an earbud. And let’s face it – Miranda is a deal younger and needs Bridget’s more informed outlook. Unfortunately Bridget is talking on the phone to someone about Daniel’s funeral, while Miranda is interviewing a diplomat (Patrick Malahyde) about the recent death of a dictator. Such fun!
Also unfortunately, everyone has to bail on her birthday party, even Tom (James Callis) and Miranda. But Miranda promises that their weekend trip is still on and they are going to a place filled with men.
And we return to Bridget and her cupcake as she says that she is “the last barren husk in London – and of the two loves of my life, one is married and the other is dead.” So much for not wallowing.
Next day Miranda takes her to an outdoor music festival which is big enough and long enough to feature furnished yurts which can be rented. Miranda has somebody to see, so directs Bridget to their yurt and leaves. Bridget gets into a situation from which she is rescued by Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey), an American billionaire. They end up sleeping together. Bridget is very happy, but sees no particular future with someone who doesn’t even live in the same country. Later the girls meet Ed Sheeran in a particularly funny scene. Five days later Bridget runs into Mark, who reveals he is getting divorced, and they sleep together. When she realizes she is pregnant, she tells neither man, since she has no idea which is the father.
An introduction to the characters and an explanation of the set-up is just that, nothing more. As additional people are introduced, especially Emma Thompson as Bridget’s gynecologist Dr. Rawlings, and more complications occur, the film stays consistently funny, and Bridget Jones has to be one of the best characters created in the last twenty years. If I rated, this would get five stars from me.
Directed by Sharon Maguire, Screenplay by Helen Fielding and Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson, Based on the Characters and Story created by Helen Fielding.

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