BRIDGET JONES’S BABY Review
Director: Sharon Maguire
Genre: Romantic Comedy
As the trailers were wrapping up before BRIDGET JONES’S BABY, I realized I hadn’t given my friend a rundown on the previous two films, and worried that she would be lost throughout BABY, having only seen the first film years ago. “Why do you like this character so much?” she asked me before the movie started. I shrugged, “she’s a mess just like me.”
My friend wasn’t lost — in order to get through nine months of content in two hours, BABY finds little time to reference what has happened in the previous 15 years. While the first film expertly builds to Bridget’s relationships with both Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), who makes a brief appearance in the threequel despite his creative differences with the script, BABY fast-forwards through Bridget’s relationship with Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey, with the worst Name Used Exclusively For A Gag ever) as much as possible in order to get the plot moving. The lack of connection between Bridget and the hardly fleshed out Jack speaks to Hugh Grant’s absence — it’s clear that the writers expected to pick up relatively where we left off with both Mark and Daniel, and were left scrambling to create a worthy competitor against the charming Mr. Darcy. What Dempsey lacks in substance he makes up for in genuine enthusiasm, but ultimately there’s no match for Colin Firth.
The stuttering king versus the doctor we all love
BABY just feels completely different than its predecessors. Bridget exchanges her handwritten diary for an iPad, she’s thin and successful, her mother is no longer meddling, and her friends’ appearances are practically cameos. This is a new Bridget, a character who, despite her continued romantic struggles, we are supposed to look up to rather than commiserate with. Even the smallest of changes (her pregnancy eliminates alcohol from her diet, a staple of the first films) make the plot seem alien to the original concept.
These differences are probably because, while BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY and BRIDGET JONES 2: THE EDGE OF REASON are rom coms, BRIDGET JONES’S BABY is a mom com. Emma Thompson co-wrote the script and has a small role — if that’s not a mom’s dream then what is. Per usual, Thompson is criminally underused — a preferable film, in my opinion, would be her character and Bridget sipping wine, complaining about men, and getting into a little trouble. Another new addition to the cast is Sarah Solemani with an excellent performance as Bridget’s new, younger BFF Miranda, who maybe hooks up with Ed Sheeran? Miranda is exactly the kind of friend a mom secretly craves — she’s all about casual sex, heavy drinking, and planning “girls’ weekends.” It is in the scenes with Miranda that Bridget acts the most like the Bridget of yesteryear.
Cupcakes are the Plan B to Plan B
Despite my hang-ups, this movie was fun. I laughed quite a bit, I sighed over Colin Firth a lot, I cried 85% more than expected. The last 20 minutes were absurd and made for a very fitting end to the franchise. Honestly, all of my criticisms are rooted in the fact that this movie wasn’t made for me. I, a 22-year-old single girl, am the target demographic for BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY. I, a 22-year-old single girl whose life is low-key a mess, am the target demographic for THE EDGE OF REASON. I, a 22-year-old single girl who is horrified by the concept of motherhood, am not the target demographic for BRIDGET JONES’S BABY. This movie was made for the women who were me 15 years ago, suffering right alongside Bridget. Now these women are in their 40’s and all they require from this movie is two hours away from their children, a hefty amount of shirtless Patrick Dempsey, and to see The Last Single Girl finally happy. And after 15 years, BRIDGET JONES’S BABY comes through.