The third and (probably) final instalment of the Bridget Jones franchise is a patchy affair which manages to be watchable thanks to enthusiastic performances from a fine cast. While the plot never breaks from incredulous rom-com formula, there is enough momentum in the buoyant script and appealing characters to ensure that fans of the first two films will find something to enjoy this time around.
It has been 12 years since Bridget (Renée Zellweger ) last graced the big screen in the decidedly mediocre Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. We catch up with our heroine on her 43rd birthday, single and ditzy as ever. While her career is moving along nicely, matters of a romantic nature are still the bane of her existence. Between the end of the last film and the beginning of this one, her relationship with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) has failed and she has seemingly been unlucky in love ever since. Cajoled into attending a music festival with mad for it work colleague Miranda (an excellent Sarah Solemani), Bridget meets and ends up bumping uglies with suave American entrepreneur Jack (Patrick Dempsey). A few days later via a miraculous coincidence, she is reacquainted with Darcy and they too end up between the sheets. When it rains it pours for old Bridget. Post coital chaos ensues when she discovers that she is up the duff. Who’s the daddy though??? That is the burning question which drives the rest of the story.
The key to the film’s success lies in the well conveyed relationships between Bridget and the two male leads. Zelwegger is utterly engaging, while Firth plays the stiff upper lip Brit perfectly and Dempsey exudes uber confident American charm. It is credit to all involved that the characters remain likeable throughout. While Bridget is torn between both men as possible suitors and fathers, audience allegiance swings both ways too. This keeps things interesting until the end. The supporting cast are stellar also. Along with the previously mentioned Solamni there are effective turns from Sally Phillips (reprising her role as Shazzer) and Kate O’Flynn as boss from hell Alice. Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones make welcome returns as Bridget’s parents, while Emma Thompson (who also worked on the script) is in scene stealing mode as Bridget’s doctor.
Bringing Sharon Maguire, director of the Bridget Jones Diary, back into the fold proves to be an inspired decision. She delivers a film close in tone and quality to the much loved original. Having the witty skills of Thompson on writer duty aids the cause also. It is by no means a great film. A few jokes fall flat and the story rarely reverts from genre convention, but thanks to the talented cast and crew, it is consistently entertaining. A fitting finale for a hugely popular character, Bridget Jones’s Baby will surely be fondly received by chick flick aficionados and seasoned followers of the franchise.