As big of a fan as I was of Bridget Jones’s Diary, I somehow missed seeing Bridget Jones’s Baby in the theater when it premiered in 2016. Rewatching The Edge of Reason I realized I probably skipped the third movie because of my disappointment in the second. Not to mention the fact that Hugh Grant had dropped out and I think I was afraid of Patrick Dempsey being brought on to play Daniel Cleaver Lite. Plus, how much more Bridget and Mark drama could I really handle at this point?
In any case, after rewatching The Edge of Reason, I realized Sharon Maguire had come back to the director’s chair for Bridget Jones’s Baby, so I was eager to give it a try and see if it could recapture any of the magic from the first film. While it’s not quite on par, Bridget Jones’s Baby was a solid, satisfying ending to Bridget’s story.
Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is now forty-three, pleased that she is at her “ideal weight” and has a pretty decent job as a television producer. She and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) have at some point broken up, and Bridget spots he and his wife Camilla at the funeral for presumed dead Daniel Cleaver. Shazzer (Sally Phillips) and Jude (Shirley Henderson) are both married with children and Tom (James Callis) is adopting with his partner Eduardo, leaving Bridget as the lone singleton in their circle. She decides to spend a weekend with her single friend and colleague Miranda (Sarah Solemani) at an outdoor music festival and while there, meets Jake (Patrick Dempsey). After a lot of alcohol and mistaking his yurt for her own, Bridget and Jake sleep together.
And of course, at the christening of Jude’s baby, Bridget runs into Mark who reveals he and Camilla are getting divorced, and he missed Bridget. Lingering feelings and familiarity bring them together, though Bridget leaves a note with Mark the next morning explaining that she doesn’t think the two of them trying again would be a good idea, given how they were unable to get over the finish line for the past ten years. It’s a mature move for Bridget, who is perhaps afraid of getting hurt again. Unfortunately, thanks to some old, “eco-friendly” condoms that failed, Bridget finds herself pregnant and she has no idea who the father is.
After some typical Bridget-esque shenanigans and embarrassment, Bridget comes clean with both Jake and Mark about their circumstances. Both men handle the news differently, but they both want to be there for Bridget, and it’s clear they both want to be the father. The movie could have made Jake a jerk to make the choice an easy one, but it was kind of refreshing that Jake was polite, sweet and clearly interested in Bridget even before she told him she was pregnant. He’s a millionaire who made his fortune with an algorithm that helps people find love, and of course, he and Bridget are 97% compatible. Oh yeah, he’s also pretty great with kids. Mark is, well, Mark. Still a bit snobbish and emotionally stunted, but still very clearly in love with Bridget – his compatibility with Bridget? An abysmal 8%. A major bonus to the movie is Emma Thompson who shows up in the wonderfully cheeky role as Bridget’s droll OBGYN. She is the only one to tell Bridget she doesn’t need actually need either man, that she could do this on her own if she really wanted to, despite the obvious amusement she finds in Bridget’s unique situation.
Maguire keeps the movie moving along, following the same stylish structure that worked so well in the first film. While there is less humiliation to snicker at, it’s still incredibly funny as Bridget comes to terms with this late life change. Zellweger is as delightful as ever and even after ten years, she hasn’t missed a beat. She is still the same old Bridget, but with some traces of wisdom and a desire to own who she is and be content with it, with or without a man. Bridget remains as likable as ever, and despite a few uneven patches, the movie will still resonate with fans, even if they were disappointed with the second installment as I was. I won’t lie, I was desperate for my Mark and Bridget happy ending and I might have gotten a little misty-eyed in the last ten minutes or so. There are so few rom-com trilogies that make the big screen, and Bridget as a character is so very near and dear to my heart. I’m glad she got the kind of send-off I had been wanting for her.