When I was a movie critic and I sat through a screening of Bridget Jone’s Diary I was among the only journalists at the screening who enjoyed the movie. The men journalists were too embarrassed to even laugh at the chick flick. However, I found the screenwriting clever and hilarious. And I enjoyed the actors’ performances–knowing that comedy is among the hardest to write and perform.
Comic actors are often geniuses at their craft. These actors possess excellent timing, a sense of irony, and charm. The trio of Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant brought perfect chemistry to the screen. Firth, who had played the role of Jane Austen’s Darcy Fitzwilliam in the movie Pride and the Prejudice returns as a modern Darcy–and just as stoic, snobby, and sexy as the original. Grant plays the role of the narcissistic womanizer (cad). And Zellweger causes us to fall in love with a ditzy blonde who is addicted to everything from alcohol, to food, to cigarettes, and sex with the wrong men.
I didn’t care much for the second installment in the Bridget Jones series. I found the jail scene in Indonesia depressing. However, the acting stood out, even if the screenwriting sunk below the surface. So, I wondered if the third installment, Bridge Jones’ Baby would hold up against the pressures of expectation and if the actors had aged gracefully in the past fifteen years.
Strangely, Hugh Grant was missing from the movie but he did play an indirect cameo role since the movie portrayed his funeral. The movie makers replaced Grant with an American character played by Patrick Dempsey (a millionaire entrepreneur who invented algorithms for relationships–even if he wasn’t in a relationship).
This romantic comedy featured middle age lovelorn characters. Firth’s Darcy was in the middle of a divorce (how many times has this man divorced his wives?), Zellweger’s Jones has risen up in her profession, revamped her posh apartment, and getting back into the swing of dating. Newcomer, Jack Quant pushes his way into Jone’s life–going from a singleton to a potential daddy.
While Jones’ friends caught the baby fever and one friend popped out several children leaving Jones’ playing the role of godmother multiple times (never the mother, always the godmother), we get a sense of women’s liberation. Even the obstetrician played by Emma Thompson touts the glories of single motherhood. “You don’t need them, Bridget.” Apparently, men are only good for donating sperm and carrying car seats for babies.
The movie contains mixed messages for women. On one hand, it’s perfectly alright to get shagged at music festivals and live an independent life. But on the other hand, the characters appear obsessed with babies. Even the gay couple travels to Bogota to adopt a baby boy. After all, England still fosters an obsession with progeny. Just look at all the fuss over Prince Williams and Duchess Kate’s offspring–off the movie screen.
On a lighter note, even though Bridget has matured and taken on a professional demeanor, she’s still as wacky as ever. She wears all white to a music festival and falls in the mud, not to mention, falls in love with her rescuer. She arrives drunk at the wrong tent and sleeps with Jack Quant. Then within a short period, she also falls in bed with her ex-boyfriend Darcy. Then when she finds out she’s pregnant, she has a choice of two fathers for her growing fetus.
On the work front, Bridget invites Quant onto a news show as a ruse to find out if he’s the father of her baby. She invites the chauffeur, instead of a general onto a news talk show by mistake (this scene is hilarious). And then when she gives her big (anyone can present us with news) presentation, it goes haywire with plenty of mishaps. After all, technology was never Jones’ forte. She couldn’t even work a mic in the first movie.
I watched the deleted scenes and found it unfortunate that the letter scene and also the grocery store scene were deleted. They would have brought more gravity to the movie and the other scenes would have flowed better into each other. But overall, I am delighted with the movie and I will buy the DVD for future viewings.
I’m leaving you with a scene from Bridget Jones’ Baby.