How is the new Bridget Jones movie? Just good enough to satisfy its target audience. Fifteen years after the original hit movie, Renée Zellweger is back as the self-deprecating diarist created by Helen Fielding in her best-selling book. Hugh Grant, who costarred in Bridget Jones’s Diary and its 2004 sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, is absent here. This time around the single television producer finds herself torn between series returnee Colin Firth, impeccable as ever as an emotionally reserved barrister, and an American entrepreneur, played with charm and verve by Patrick Dempsey. One of them, in fact, becomes the father of her unexpected bundle of joy.
The film is handsomely mounted and the actors are likable, but this is strictly formula stuff, hardly worthy of two hours’ running time. It’s always nice to see such reliable performers as Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent (returning as Bridget’s mother and father), and Emma Thompson has written herself an amusing role as a wry ob-gyn. They and their talented colleagues barely break a sweat dealing with this material.
Sharon Maguire, who helmed the original Bridget Jones’ Diary in 2001, knows how to stage the farcical incidents that punctuate the drawn-out screenplay credited to Fielding, Thompson, and Dan Mazer. (Bridget falls face-first into a mud puddle, gets soaked in a rainstorm, etc.) But surely someone could have shown more originality in selecting source music: Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” cues a scene in an Italian restaurant and “Sleigh Ride” lets us know it’s Christmastime.
That would take more effort than anyone seems to have wanted to expend on such an unambitious and innocuous comedy; it’s the liberal use of the f-word that earns the film an R rating. Bridget Jones’s Baby will almost certainly appeal to its stalwart fan base but isn’t likely to win over any converts.