More noise than signal

Bridget Jones’s Baby

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

I have, I suppose, seen the previous Bridget Jones films. At any rate, the flashbacks seen in this film were familiar, so I have at least seen those sections of it. I assume. I really don’t have any firm recollection of anything that happened in them, so I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to see this, but it is, I must admit, a film. Thus fulfilling my one and only criteria for considering viewing it. And, do you know what, it’s not bad.

We join Bridget (Rene Zelwegger) on the cusp of turning forty, single again after splitting from Mark (Colin Firth) who was always too consumed by his work as a lawyer to make time for her. She’s now successfully producing a current affairs program and has largely made her peace with being on her own, belied somewhat by her wistful recognition that most of her original gang of friends have drifted off into family life, and running with the young team from her workplace is tough going.

However, after a run in with Mark at Hugh Grant’s funeral, she’s feeling a bit depressed, so her friend and work colleague Miranda (Sarah Solemani) resolves to cheer her up by taking her for a debauched weekend at an unnamed Glastonberry-a-like festival. Miranda insists that “the rules” dictate that Bridget must sleep with the first man she meets, which happens to be Jack (Patrick Dempsey), who fishes her out of the mud she inevitably, immediately falls in.

While she doesn’t instantaneously bump uglies with him, fate throws them together again later in the night and several sheets to the wind, at which point the magic happens. By which I mean sex. Sex happens. They do sex in a tent.

Happy to write this off as a ker-azy one night stand, she wakes up and makes herself scarce before Jack can even return with the coffee and doughnuts, or, y’know, tell her his name. She returns to her normal life, but at another social event she again runs into Mark, just separated from his wife. After a few drinks, the magic takes hold of them. By which I mean Mark inserts his penis into Bridget’s vagina repeatedly until ejaculation of seminal fluid occurs. Sorry if any of this is too powerfully erotic for you, listeners.

Anyhoo, some weeks later, Bridget’s busy trying to deal with a management changeover at work that sees the influx of a team of hipsters intent on turning their serious programme into Buzzfeed, but You Won’t Believe What Happens Next. With this one weird trick, Bridget discovers that she’s pregnant, but her two magical encounters were so close together there’s no clear candidate for the father’s identity. In case you’ve forgotten, by magical encounter I mean the thing with the penis and vagina.

Refusing an amniocentesis on the grounds that it could possibly harm the baby, and would most certainly harm the plot, Bridget somehow starts stringing both Mark and Jack, who it transpires is a famous dotcom billionaire, but not famous enough for Bridget to recognise, along with them both believing they are the father, until they eventually meet and the jape is exposed. After some adjustment, the two then attempt to passive -aggressively to active-aggressively jockey for “most suitable father” position. Hijinks of acceptable hilarity ensue.

Now, keen students of the artform of reviewing films may have noted my use of small distractions in the prior paragraphs. That’s right, all that dangerously erotic material was a trick to disguise the fact that there’s not a great deal to say about Bridget Jones’s Baby, and there’s not much point saying even that for the third film in the franchise. Even with the gap from the second instalment, I think everyone knows what’s on the cards for this film.

I’ve never quite made my peace with the accent Zelwegger’s using in these films, but that aside her comic timing and interaction with the two blokes is on point, and the supporting cast is full of (mainly) comic actors I like a great deal, such as Joanna Scanlan, Neil Pearson and James Calis. It’s gently amusing throughout.

Indeed, not much in the film is worthy of criticism, aside from an infuriating tendency in the final act to have characters otherwise established as sensible and capable people juggle the idiot ball like total morons in order to inject some drama into the conclusion, admittedly for comic effect, but still teeth-grindingly irritating, for me at least.

A fairly minor point, against an otherwise perfectly enjoyable comedy, albeit one that’s as unmemorable as its predecessors, on the basis of how few details I can remember from it about a month removed from watching. I can’t see it opening the franchise up to a new audience, but for those already appreciative of Bridget’s charms it will be a welcome revisitation.