Review written by: Josh Kristianto, Film Frenzy Contributing Writer.
In 2016, Sharon Maguire released Bridget Jones’s Baby, based on characters created by Helen Fielding. Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Sally Phillips, Julian Rhind-Tutt, James Callis, Shirley Henderson, Sarah Solemani, Neil Pearson, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent, Ben Willbond, Gemma Jones, Celia Imrie, Jessica Hynes, Kate O’Flynn, James Faulkner, and Ed Sheeran, the film grossed $212 million at the box office.
Years have gone by since Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy first became a couple. These days, Jones once again finds herself single and alone. While the reasons for their separation remain mysterious, she suddenly becomes pregnant after succumbing to a couple of separate, passionate nights with an American she meets at a music festival and Darcy himself. Thus begins the task to determine who the father of her baby is and who the true love of her life might be.
Bridget Jones’s Baby is an entirely unnecessary addition to the series, which previously held its own through the charm and wit of its central character. Full of crass humor and unafraid to ramp up the steaminess, this film becomes too brash at times, losing some of its charm. From the start, it seems hard to care about what Jones is going through, simply because the audience has already seen it before. Jones goes through the same depressed routine and piteous narrating, only to go off and fall back into Darcy’s arms. The story is old, only surpassed by the age of all the actors in the film.
The comedy is much the same in this film as it was in the previous ones. However this time, the filmmakers wrote in a lot more sexual innuendo. There are plenty of embarrassing conversations, physical comedy, and a consistent mockery of millennials and technology. Yet, at this point in the series, it feels rather overdone. Zellweger continues to shine playing the central heroine; she seems to enjoy depicting a hopelessly single woman. Nevertheless, there is nothing new or remarkable about any of the comedy.
As usual, Jones’ diary writing continues to provide the depth and context for the film. Some of the subjects she covers are new and interesting, especially when she writes a letter to Darcy explaining why she believes they shouldn’t be together. Other times, despite the narration being quite charming, it is completely forgettable.
In terms of the romance, Bridget Jones’s Baby hardly reaches the heights of the previous films. Nothing could be less romantic than a man who feels obligated to stay with a woman because she says he might be the father of her child. It becomes too obvious the ensuing courtship between Jones and this American man, when paired with a possible reconciliation with Darcy, is a waste of the viewers’ time. The only real element of romance is found between Jones and Darcy and their journey in discovering each other once more. The story simply demands they recompense, but then it becomes predictable. Viewers and fans of the series will certainly still feel happy when the two finally get married in the end.
The most meaningful theme in this film seems to the idea of the person someone is most incompatible with could still be the person with which you truly belong. Looking through this lens, the movie paints a meaningful, if not predictable picture. It is unique in how both of the love interests, Darcy and the American, are both upstanding men who care deeply for Jones. Further they also both grab the admiration of Jones in different ways and though it seems the American and Jones are more compatible on paper, Jones declares that perhaps love is found on a deeper level, which brings her back to Darcy. The addition of the pregnancy element certainly makes it more interesting. Still, the flaws in the film detract from what could have been a fresher revival to the series.
Bold indicates reception of award/recognition
Alliance of Women Film Journlaists
- EDA Special Mention Award – Hall of Shame (Sharon Maguire & Renée Zellweger)
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
- Top Box Office Films
European Film Awards
- Audience Award
Evening Standard British Film Awards
- Best Supporting Actress (Sarah Solemani)
Globes de Cristal Awards, France
- Best Foreign Film