Bridget bloody Jones is back and, frankly, we couldn't be happier. No, Bridget Jones's Baby is not the most cohesive narrative of the year, and no, it's not going to spur any radical political movements. Still, hardcore Bridget fans can breathe a sigh of relief, because this threequel is still pretty damn good.
Fans of Helen Fielding's book series may have already deduced that Baby is not based on the third Bridget Jones novel Mad About The Boy, in which (*mega spoiler alert*) Mark Darcy dies. It's devastating, v sad and not at all Hollywood. Thankfully this is not this story.
Instead, this tale is about BJ (Renée Zellweger) getting knocked up, and the antics that ensue as she tries to figure out the identity of the father. Is it quintessentially British barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) or the OTT American love professor Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey)? It literally doesn't matter, that's not the point. The point is enjoying the face-palming situations that Bridget creates for herself as she tries to negotiate between the two maybe-baby daddies.
The film guns for the same mix of stuffy British and slapstick humour that fans of the series all know and love – but this time around, Bridget is actually doing things that will make you fist pump. She's more like us than ever before: shagging randos at music festivals, looking fierce, texting with emojis, being surgically attached to her phone, kicking ass at work, telling her mother to sod off and best of all, deciding to have a baby on her own. Like a fine wine, modern day Bridget has undoubtedly gotten better with age.
The writers have stayed true to the quirks of the original films without being slaves to them, for which we give great thanks. The red PJ pants are back, as are the lonely apartment dance routines and awkward speeches, but as homage rather than easy imitation. The plot doesn't just lazily redo all the bits that worked from the last films, like we're idiots who won't notice. There's no Hugh Grant, although Emma Thompson as a put-upon obstetrician more than makes up for his absence.
On the other hand (unfortunately, there's always another hand waiting to slap you down), Patrick Dempsey is completely outclassed by his costars – although to be honest, it doesn't really seem fair to put a very American American in the middle of the most British comedy ever and expect it to go down smoothly. Also the actual plot, which isn't super-duper to begin with, kind of…entirely falls over at the half way mark. When the jokes stop rolling in and the sappy emotional routine starts around the third trimester, things get incredibly cringey.
This may be the biggest difference between the decidedly British and smaller budget originals and this rather more shiny update. We expect a few sappy moments from Bridge, made bearable by the presence of a large pair of granny panties or a stripper's bunny outfit, but the saccharine sweetness of this film's final act does get a bit off-putting. Then again, by that point you're already well and truly invested. So it's fine. Or as BJ would say, v good.