Universal Pictures 2 hours 2 minutes R
What a fun romp! On the 15th anniversary of the release of Bridget Jones's Diary, the first in the series, we have this third installment. It’s been six years in the making but Renee Zellweger is back as the flawed but funny and very human Bridget. Now she’s a single woman who appears to have gotten her stuff together at work as a TV news producer, but her personal life is still a mess.
Sharon Maguire directed this third installment. She also directed the original Bridget Jones’s Diary that was such a big hit and got Renee Zellweger an Academy Award. Maguire opted out of the 2nd, less popular, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, but came back for this one. This plot has a lot more to it. Not only does it deal with Bridget now in her 40’s getting older, facing the challenges of news and social media in a high-powered job, but managing romance with two men, one of whom is the father of her yet unborn child. The director reportedly shot 3 different endings for the movie and the cast didn’t know which would be released. Interesting.
The film opens on her sadly single birthday celebration to the tune of “All By Myself” but with the help of wine, turns it into childlike jumping on her bed to the tune of “Jump!” Her co-worker and best friend, Miranda (Sarah Solemani) who continually tries to get her to be more adventurous, talks her into going to a massive summer music festival. (We even get a guest appearance by Ed Sheehan who makes more than a cameo.)
Bridget, not being on top of things, wears all white to the huge muddy festival and falls rather ungracefully, into the arms and under the spell of a prince charming-like attendee. She doesn’t know it, but he is billionaire Jack Qwant, played sensitive and sexy by Patrick Dempsey, who owns and operates an online dating service. She ends up in his tent for a night of passion.
A week later, she is Godmother and her past love, Mr. Darcy, is Godfather at a Christening where they rekindle their relationship with a roll in the hay. He is married but in process of divorce. The plot thickens when Bridget becomes pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is. And it gets even thicker with the quips from her sarcastic, but hilarious Dr. Rawlings, played by Emma Thompson. She delivers not only the baby but some of the best lines.
Helen Fielding and Dan Mazur wrote the screenplay along with Emma Thompson who added her sense of humor and sensibility to the mix. What makes this work is that neither men is painted as a cad. They both show actual affection for Bridget and are excited about her condition. She’s really lovable, even though still awkward and clumsy. Zellweger plays it cute and completely relatable.
There is lots of good comedic timing and very funny physical “Lucy” style moments. The scenes as Bridget is coping with her pregnancy on the job, feeding bad information to Miranda on the air as she’s interviewing, paints a pretty accurate picture of the state of news these days. The visual stuck behind the presenter (as anchors are called in the UK) of men mooning the camera is something you won’t forget. Scenes that garnered big laughs are where both “Dads” are in Birth classes together, then when trying to deliver this woman in labor by literally juggling her into the hospital entrance.
But there are also some tender loving moments, especially when the baby arrives in this fun British rom-com. We found it thoroughly entertaining, even though silly at times, but Zellweger pulls it off royally. Well done, Bridget.