Bridget Jones’s Baby ***

A funny and fitting end to the only romantic comedy trilogy you can think of. 

Is it worth $10? Yes

Hard as it is to believe, Bridget Jones, the bumbling heroine of the solid “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001) and the so-so “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” (2004), is still (gasp!) single. And (double gasp!!) now age 43. And early in the satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” she learns she’s pregnant (not sure if this is another gasp! because she really wants the baby).

Bridget’s (Renee Zellweger) problem is that she doesn’t know who the father is. Within a week she slept with Jack (Patrick Dempsey), a billionaire dating guru, and her old flame Mark (Colin Firth), who’s freshly divorced. It’s a credit to director Sharon Maguire (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”) that the story doesn’t waste much time in having Bridget tell each guy she’s pregnant, and that another man could be the father.

This is Oscar-winner Zellweger’s (“Cold Mountain”) first film in six years, and she hasn’t lost a bit of her comedic touch and timing. It’s a thrill to see Bridget again right from the start as she listens to “All By Myself” on her birthday while staring at a lame cupcake and candle. Then, as Bridget is wont to do, in a moment of spunk she changes the song to “Jump Around,” delighting us with a boisterous lip sync all over her apartment. It’s something Bridget would only do when she’s alone, and Zellweger is terrific at sharing Bridget’s private moments and thoughts that endear us to her beyond belief. There’s a combination of crippling shyness and low self-esteem mixed with a strong sense of self-worth and beauty that’s unmistakable.

A capable supporting cast complements Zellweger, including Firth as fussy Mark and Dempsey at his McDreamiest as too-good-to-be-true Jack. Both are funny, sweet and unique – Bridget at times feeling like she has to choose between the two is a legitimate decision indeed. Amusing turns from Emma Thompson as Bridget’s OB GYN, and Sarah Solemani as Miranda, the crazy anchor of the TV show Bridget produces, keep the laughs coming throughout.

Of course, not all the gags are a success: There’s a running joke in which Bridget gives Miranda awkward questions to ask interviewees on live TV. It’s not funny the first time, let alone the third. And Bridget’s new boss (Kate O’Flynn) wanting to turn their hard news show into gossipy sensationalism is a strained and unnecessary commentary on the state of TV news today.

Love triangles often lend themselves to plot holes, and indeed there are a few. But that’s okay. “Bridget Jones” movies are made by women (it’s the only trilogy to have a female at the helm of all three movies) and for women, and as a whole they’ve done a great job of exposing the insecurities (I’m told) many women face. A minor flaw here and there doesn’t mean the finished package isn’t worthwhile. I’m sure Bridget herself would agree.

Did you know?
Helen Fielding is the author of the “Bridget Jones” novels on which the first two movies are based. This film, however, is based on an original idea from Fielding, who collaborated on the screenplay with Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson.

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