Its sharp humour will delight even those with a mild interest in rom-com.
There’s a perfectly good reason why the threequel of Britain’s favourite rom-com is called Bridget Jones’s Baby and not Bridget Jones’s Wedding.
Bridget, once obsessed with finding the right man, finally gets the dream wedding that she has always wanted.
But when she finds out she is going to be a mother, the forty-something singleton happily lets her baby steal the show.
From that moment on, her whole life revolves around her little one and every step she takes is for the best of the baby.
It is precisely her warmth and selflessness that melt even the coldest hearts and persuade us to forgive the minor flaws of Bridget Jones’s Baby.
Renée Zellweger reprises the title role and reunites with Welsh director Sharon Maguire since 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, to bring back the chemistry that was sorely missed in Beeban Kidron’s The Edge of Reason (2004).
Now in her early 40s, Bridget is a successful television news producer who mostly enjoys her carefree life.
All that is about to change as she becomes unexpectedly pregnant, with a 50 per cent clue as to who the father is.
Could it be her uptight but unbelievably sweet and caring ex-boyfriend and childhood friend Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) who is divorcing his wife?
Or could it be Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), an American dating expert and billionaire who showers her with flowers, passion and his irresistible smile?
Wrangling new challenges at her job and preparing for motherhood, Bridget has to choose between her something old and something new, whilst trying not to hurt either man’s feelings in the process.
As with any sequel or threequel, box office performance and critics’ reviews often depend on the director mixing the new and the familiar well enough, to attract fresh audience without distancing the film’s loyal following.
Baby has done just that – the 12-year gap since we last saw Bridget on the silver screen and Zellweger’s six-year hiatus arguably help deliver the believable changes in the characters and storyline.
Bridget exudes confidence that can only come with age. She is comfortable in her own skin and, having achieved her ‘ideal weight’, no longer feels the need to begin diary entries with her latest body measurements.
She navigates life – or rather, the adorable blunders – with her new friend and colleague Miranda (Sarah Solemani), with the old gang never too far away through the tough times.
Bridget even has an amazing one night stand with Jack without fretting over whether she is wearing sexy lingerie or her armpits are silky smooth and smell like daisies.
Speaking of the newcomer in her love triangle, isn’t it encouraging to see Bridget breaking away from a vicious cycle of Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and instead falling for a funny and decent man like Jack?
Patrick Dempsey, or better known as Dr ‘McDreamy’ in the popular series Grey’s Anatomy, plays Jack Qwant, a gentleman billionaire.
Although the script doesn’t explain what draws him to Bridget so much that he is willing to skip past the boyfriend stage and jump right into fatherhood, his genuine charm and effort convince us and Bridget that he is in it for the long run.
Another notable change in Bridget in the film is her reaction to the pregnancy test result.
There is no panic – unlike in The Edge of Reason where the mere thought of being pregnant leads to her losing control over her ski poles and accelerating down a steep slope.
There is no frantic need to make a thousand and one plans, which, also in the second film, only results in a silly fight with Mark over whether to send their child to boarding school or public school.
Maybe, just like her friend suggests, Bridget actually wants a baby and is finally ready to have one.
For a brand new narrative to work, the story must also bring back a sense of familiarity. The writers of Baby have done a seamless job in weaving the two together to set the scene, rather than to use them as tears bait.
Just like how in the opening scene, ‘All By Myself’ – an anthem that has become synonymous with Bridget since Diary – quickly changes to ‘Jump Around’ to mark her new and optimistic outlook.
And how can we not mention that knight in shining armour moment when Mark discovers Bridget is drenched in cold rain and locked out of her apartment, and takes her in his loving arms?
For those who know the first two films all too well, memories of Mark rescuing her from a disastrous birthday dinner consisting of blue soup and an unfortunate episode behind the bars in Thailand will come rushing back.
Accompanying these familiar and precious moments is a feminism debate that had kicked off since Helen Fielding saw her second novel Bridget Jones’s Diary publish in 1996.
Many have been asking and still ask today: is Bridget Jones a feminist or a post-feminist? Is she a good or bad feminist? In fact, does she have to be one?
Baby answers the question by brilliantly contrasting the world that she lives in, crammed with social agenda, with the life choices that she makes which are free from any political purpose.
Bridget doesn’t sleep with Jack or Mark so that she can champion women’s sexual independence.
She certainly doesn’t quit her job at nine months pregnant because she wants to make a statement about how women, including single mothers, can do as they please.
She makes these choices out of her zest for life and the need to find her foothold in a crazy world, where Tinder is the new blind dating and her friends are all starting their own families.
The arrival of her own baby gives her exactly the solid ground that she is looking for, and of course, a reason to be a better person and the best mother she can be.
So her wedding is as much a celebration of her love life as it is an introduction to a new and exciting chapter.
From now on, her baby is her whole world and she is simply grateful that the man she loves is happy to be a part of it.
Even her conservative mother (Gemma Jones) has found a way to see the world the way Bridget does, prioritising one’s happiness over what society deems acceptable or frowns upon.
Closing the film with Bridget and her little bundle of joy in the frame and Ellie Goulding’s ‘Still Falling For You’, Bridget Jones’s Baby will resonate with women of all ages and background.
Its sharp and relatable humour, credit to Emma Thompson who co-writes the script and plays the incredibly funny gynaecologist, will delight even those with a mild interest in romantic comedies.