Regarding the third and latest in the series of screen adaptations based on author Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones character, what I can’t tell you is how it stacks up against the last entry from twelve years ago, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason. That film, also co-scripted by Fielding, was not highly acclaimed by either fans of the first film or the series of books. I opted to skip it in the hopes of retaining my pleasant memories of the first film from fifteen (!) years ago, Bridget Jones’s Diary.

What I can tell you is that, in comparison to the original film, the latest entry Bridget Jones’s Baby is nearly on a par in terms of quality. Hopefully, it will restore pleasant memories to those who are still reeling from the bad vibes of the last film. It may not be groundbreaking cinema but it’s loads of fun. I don’t think that anyone who missed the last film in the series will have a problem catching up with what’s happened to Bridget (Renee Zellweger, charming as ever in the role) since the initial entry.

This film opens in much the same manner as the first time we met Bridget all those years ago, a sort of callback, if you will. Back then Bridget was in her early thirties, single and desperate for romance and the film opened with her serenading herself to the strains of All By Myself. The first time we see her here, she’s single again, in her early forties and still serenading herself all alone in her apartment having finally given up on making it work with her on again-off again suitor, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). The only difference being that the song has changed to House of Pain’s hit from the early 90s, Jump Around instead of the aforementioned soft rock hit from the mid 70s.

Thankfully, Bridget’s career as a TV producer is going well. That is until the station she works for is sold and she winds up under the thumb of an anal retentive boss. On a whim, Bridget opts to head out for a weekend to take in a music festival and winds up getting a bit close and personal with the renowned owner of a dating website (Patrick Dempsey). Not long after, Bridget reconnects with Mark, only to then find out a short time later that she’s pregnant.

Bridget’s quest to determine who the father is makes up a good chunk of the plot and, of course, creates many comedic situations which serve as a springboard to some fairly enjoyable gags. If there is a complaint to make about the film, it would be that it does tend to veer towards over length. At 123 minutes, it would have benefitted the film to lose about fifteen minutes or so. Still, this Bridget Jones has enough good moments that it’s easy to forgive the film for its transgressions. It’s good to see a new entry in this series that’s actually worth watching if they insist on keeping it going.

Opens Thursday, September 15, at the Carmike in Hickory.
Photo: Colin Firth, Zellweger and Patrick Dempsey in ‘Baby’

Questions or comments? Write Adam at [email protected].