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By Helen Heath
Fifteen years after the original Bridget Jones film, based on the novel by Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Baby, which hit cinemas in September, picks up on Bridget’s life when, having split from Mark Darcy, she finds herself alone again. Unlike the previous two films, the third instalment is an entirely new story not based on a novel. Co-written by Fielding, Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson (who also appears in a hilarious turn as Bridget’s doctor), and directed by Sharon Maguire (the original Shazza), this second sequel is not without hilarity and genuine pathos.
As is Bridget Jones tradition, there are plenty of face-palm moments, as Bridget gets herself into a variety of sticky situations. We catch up with her working on a current affairs show alongside her delightful newsreader friend Miranda, (a great performance from Sarah Solemani) who is the master of switching from sexual innuendo to serious newsreader mode. The film mocks the behind-the-scenes environment of a newsroom in glorious fashion.
Whilst at a music festival with Miranda, Bridget, in impossible heels, falls flat on her face in the mud only to be rescued by her knight in shining armour, Jack (Patrick Dempsey). Quite what billionaire Jack is doing at a music festival on his own without wellies is anyone’s guess, but Bridget can’t resist his charms, and later, neither those of deadpan Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), subsequently finding herself pregnant and unable to determine who the father is. Cue many an awkward moment as misunderstandings ensue.
Some of the gags are a little hit-and-miss, and certainly not on par with the original Bridget Jones’s Diary. The re-enactment of the scene where Bridget mimes along to Jamie O’Neal’s ‘All By Myself,’ swapping that track for House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’, is pretty cringey rather than funny. Other scenes have the feel-good factor, however, and the film gradually made me care about the characters. Towards the end of the film, I had to restrain myself from cheering when Bridget tells her stuck-up boss where to go.
Disappointingly, Hugh Grant’s character Daniel Cleaver did not appear in the film, but I suppose there’s only so many times he could pretend he had deep feelings for Bridget before once again, being exposed as a major love-rat. Patrick Dempsey takes over the heartthrob role, and Bridget has a different but somehow less entertaining dilemma over whether to choose him over her old flame Mr. Darcy.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Bridget Jones without appearances from her endearing but wacky mother (who gets most of the funniest lines) and lovable father. What the film lacked, however, is an exploration of Bridget’s lasting friendships with the memorable Shazza, Jude and Tom, who barely feature. They were such an integral part of the first two films, and the writers could definitely have made more of their current family lives.
We all love to identify with Bridget and the chain of blunders that is her life, making us all feel better about ourselves in the process. Bridget Jones is the good-hearted singleton simply looking for love and happiness but getting thwarted along the way in the form of disastrous public presentations and numerous falls in muddy fields. In a world of increasing superficiality, Bridget is the realistic, familiar role model we all love to adore. I give Bridget Jones’s Baby 4 out of 5 stars.
Helen Heath is an MA Journalism student at Manchester Met. Besides writing, she has a passion for music, singing and writing songs. Twitter @HelenHeath5.