For those that know me really well, the guaranteed genre to get my ass in a seat at the cinemas is sci-fi, fantasy, and action. So I love Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Expendables, it’s my cinematic addiction. But for those of you that may not be aware, I do have a soft spot for another genre. You clicked on this review, so you can probably guess what it’s going to be. Yes! Sappy romance movies of the dramatic or comedic variety. So among my favorite rom-coms include LOVE ACTUALLY (2003), SERENDIPITY (2001), IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), BORN YESTERDAY (1950), it’s all mushy and shit, but I can’t help but love ’em anyway.
Since we’re piling on the fun facts about me today, Bridget Jones was one of the few rom-coms that I missed out on. Why? Well… because the movies were rated R and I am pretty sure I wasn’t even a teenager yet when they came out, so my parents wouldn’t let me watch them. I have, of course, seen the Bridget Jones movies in the last couple months and all I have to say is… I don’t get it. I’m not even kidding, I had to have watched these movies at least a month ago and I don’t remember a damn thing. Apart from seeing the character Bridget as one of the worst written rom-com women I’ve ever seen, being way to man-obsessed and not finding enough happiness in herself, she’s a horrible figure to look up to or take inspiration from. I do remember Hugh Grant being funny, but he’s Hugh Grant. He’s always funny. And I do remember laughing my ass off in both movies when he and Colin Firth have fist fights. I remember Renée Zellweger looking unfathomably hot in a Playboy bunny costume. Oh, and Gaius Baltar (James Callis) is one of Bridget’s best gay friends. That always tickled the fuck out of me. But yeah, I don’t remember the movies as a whole and didn’t like them. I’m not even sure if I understand why they were even really popular for the time.
So as you can probably tell, I suddenly wasn’t looking forward to this movie. In fact, I was downright dreading it.
But let’s take a look at the cast. Zellweger… is not my favorite actress. Not because I think she’s bad, but because I don’t think I’ve seen many of her movies. I knew she existed, obviously, she was a romance giant back in the day and had some respectable roles in Oscar winning films like COLD MOUNTAIN (2003) and CINDERELLA MAN (2005). But then all of a sudden, she sort of disappeared. Her last movie that anyone might remember was way back in 2009, NEW IN TOWN. I remember the poster, but not the movie. Maybe APPALOOSA (2008)? LEATHERHEADS (2008)? The point is, her last big, big movie was CINDERELLA MAN in 2005. Maybe you remember the movies between then and 2010, but she literally has nothing credited to her name until this year (2016). A part of that may be due to the plastic surgery, but I won’t pretend to know the full story. All I know, it’s nice to see her back in the limelight, looking healthy and happy despite the internet’s opinions. Maybe I don’t care about the movie, but I sure do care about people.
Anywho, reprising his role is Firth, a British acting heavy weight recently in films, like, KINGSMAN (2014), TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011), and KING’S SPEECH (2010). Stepping in to fight for the heart of Bridget Jones is Patrick Dempsey. Mostly famous for his role in the hit TV show GREY’S ANATOMY, but he’s done a lot of film work, such as FREEDOM WRITERS (2007), ENCHANTED (2007), and TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (2011).
Directing is Sharon Maguire, who previously directed the first Bridget film back in 2001, but hasn’t really done much else. In fact, her next film wasn’t until 2008’s INCENDIARY, and she didn’t come back until this film. She’s done shorts and documentaries inbetween, but nothing feature-length and on the big screen. Wanna start getting really nervous? This film has three, count ’em, three writers: Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer, and Emma Thompson. If I’m not mistaken, these movies were originally based on a couple the novels that Fielding also wrote. However, there’s no third book, to my knowledge. Curious that she’d return to the franchise, but hey, whatever fulfills you, right? And as far as screenwriting goes, she’s only ever done the Bridget Jones movies. Now here’s a name that gets me really scared. Mazer may not be a household name, but his movies are: BORAT (2006), BRUNO (2009), and the TV show DA ALI G SHOW. Not a fan of these movies, so not excited to see his name bizarrely attached to a rom-com. But the balance-out is Thompson’s name. I was taken for a loop because I wasn’t aware she had any screenplay experience. Turns out, she’s got a few under her belt. The Nanny McPhee movies, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1995), I got curious after that. It also helps that she’s in the movie as well.
As you can tell, I’m not excited for this. In fact, I’m downright dreading it. But before I start yakking away about my dislike for the movies, let’s just get down to this one. This is my honest review of BRIDGET JONES’S BABY.
Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is back in the single life, forty and alone. She remains on mildly good terms with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), her ex, and is now a producer for a hit TV show. But she’s eager to change things around and join her friend Miranda (Sarah Solemani), who is also the show’s host, on a trip. There she meets Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey), a rich man who made a dating website that calculates the chances of a pair of people working out romantically. She ends up having sex with him and goes home. Not long after, Bridget and Mark meet up and realize they still have feelings for each other and have sex. Again, not long later, she ends up pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is. As the two men vie for her affection and become enamored with the concept of being a father, it becomes increasingly difficult to know which of the two men would be better fathers as over time they both show their charm and annoyances.
What the hell happened? The first movie was bad and forgettable, the second even worse… so how in piss fuck is this one good?! You’re reading this right folks. I actually like this.
The opening scene alone was probably one of my favorite parts. The previous movies started with that now-god-awfully annoying song “All By Myself” by Céline Dion. But then… in a twist that jerked me awake, she turns off the song and switches it to “Jump Around” by House of Pain. A little annoying in its own right as this song is pretty overplayed as it is, but what a way to let the audience know that this is going to be a different movie. We’re not getting a “boo hoo, I’m single” mess of a story that even the first one didn’t do well with, but we’re getting a story about a woman who is, for the most part, happy with herself. She’s not alone in her apartment because she’s single. She’s alone because it’s her birthday and all her friends had to bail on her for their own personal reasons and she’s down in the dumps, which any one of us would be.
And that’s another great aspect of the movie: it’s not a traditional Hollywood sequel. This one looks like it took its time to get made. If it was going to be a sequel, it was going to actually sit down and think about how to be good, instead of hammered out for a quick buck. Bridget’s character is evolved in this story. She’s not worried about finding a man, she’s just a single woman looking to have fun with her friends. But of course, when one of her two flings wind up knocking her up, she’s not annoying. She… mostly does the right thing, or doesn’t drag out her annoying wrong choices for too long before realizing, “Yeah, it’s fucked up of me to not tell these men that I don’t know who the father is.”
I won’t pretend that this movie is flawless. In fact, you could easily make the argument that it’s still the same movie as the previous two. Bridget is still single with two men that want to be with her and she swoons over it. The two men don’t like each other and increasingly get bigger in their attempts to prove their worth. But where that might bother most die-hard fans who would want something a lot more original or significantly different might be disappointed in this movie, none of that bothered me because what they do with the premise is leagues better than the originals. In the last films, she can’t stand being single and is miserable the entire runtime of the movie. It wasn’t fun to watch. Here, she contemplates taking care of the baby alone as a single mother. We do see her take the child seriously and keeps it first and foremost in her mind. We see her make that connection, falling in love with it. She just wants to be a good mom. Granted, I wish she had kept that mentality throughout the film and sort of brushed off Jack and Mark’s advances, but I guess it wouldn’t be a Bridget Jones movie if those elements weren’t in it.
Also, the movie didn’t have a lot of laughs until the final stretch. Let me be clear, the jokes worked. Nothing particularly made me laugh, but I liked them. So the best way for me to describe this movie is that it was more likable than funny. I smiled a lot, if that helps, but like I said, the real laughter for me wasn’t until the final thirty or twenty minutes.
And I do have to voice my disappointment that there’s no over-the-top fist-fight between the leading men. Damn, those were the only funny things in the original. As well as no Hugh Grant. Don’t get me wrong, Dempsey is just as charming and funny as Firth, but… come on, folks, he’s no Grant. There’s something about his suave, rich-man, entitled persona that made him so lovable. But…
Let’s face it, the movie is opening itself up to the possibility of a sequel. Daniel, who was played by Grant in the other two films, was revealed to have died in a plane crash. But the final minutes of the movie reveals that he was found alive. He himself isn’t featured, it’s all in a newspaper article, but I won’t lie, I would not mind seeing where they’d go with this. Bridget getting fawned over by three men? That’d be new. Granted, it’d be with the same men we’ve seen before, but I’ve grown accustomed to that being a thing in sequels, I guess. Some movies just need their monikers so they stand out more.
All in all, I think this movie was good. I’m pretty sure my review was a little repetitive, and I was just obsessing over the one thing it did right and ignored anything else that might be considered unoriginal or stale about it, but what can I say, I liked this movie and I’d be open to seeing it again. Maybe not right away, but in the near future if the opportunity arises. IMDb has it at a 7.5/10 (as of 9/22/2016), RottenTomatoes has it certified fresh at 77% (as of 9/22/2016), and I have to say, I’m right there with those ratings. If you’re a fan of the franchise, I recommend it. If you’re simply in the mood for a good romantic comedy, I still recommend it. It’s not half bad.
My honest rating for BRIDGET JONES’S BABY: 4/5
Alright kiddies, that’s all for this week. But stay tuned for more exciting reviews for the next batch of cinematic goodies.
Upcoming films: 9/22/16 – 9/29/16
- THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-RBA0xoaWU
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXEZFd0RT5Y
- THE DRESSMAKER
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMEu-1CIB_I
Upcoming films: 9/29/16 – 10/6/16
- MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAdpJw-MM-M
- DEEPWATER HORIZON
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-UPJyEHmM0
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIkzuXDhCcQ
- QUEEN OF KATWE
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4l3-_yub5A