Where has Renée Zellweger been? From her breakthrough in “Jerry Maguire” to “My Own Love Song” in she was a fixture on the big screen, making twenty-five movies in fifteen years. Then, in 2010, she disappeared from view.
Zellweger is back this weekend in a big way. “Bridget Jones’s Baby” sees her return to her signature role twelve years after starring in the second instalment of the series, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”
Released on the 20th Anniversary of the first Bridget Jones novel, the new film has Bridget pregnant but unsure whether the father is her true love Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) or Jack (Patrick Dempsey), a handsome, rich American, she had a one night stand with at a music festival. “This is it!” exclaims the forty-three soon-to-be-mom. “More to the point who’s is it?” The happy trio work through nine months of questions and prenatal classes before the bundle of joy arrives and Bridget’s question can be answered definitively.
The six year vacation has not loosened Zellweger’s grip of her most famous character. She slips back into Jones’s skin and it’s a welcome return. The things that made Bridget lovable in the first place are in place—like the self-depreciating humour—but they are tempered by a contentment, more or less, with her life. The search for Prince Charming continues, but her attitude toward men and their place in her life has developed since we saw her last. Make no mistake, this is a rom com, but, largely due to Zellweger’s charming performance, the emphasis is on the comedy and not so much the romance.
It’s a screwball comedy that relies on coincidences puns, double entendres, slapstick and likable characters for its appeal. Light and breezy, it’s “Sex and the City” with English accents and without the cynicism. Dempsey and Firth are polar opposites, the yin and yang of Bridget’s life, and both bring some funny moments and are good foils for Zellweger. Better yet is Emma Thompson, who also wrote the script, as Bridget’s snarky paediatrician. She pops in and out of the movie, leaving laughs in her wake.
By the time the end credits roll “Bridget Jones’s Baby” begins to feel just a tad over long. It tilts too often toward the corny and crowd pleasing, but, having said that, it’s nice to see the franchise allow Bridget to love herself for a change. Ultimately (AND THIS IS NOT A SPOILER) it doesn’t matter who the father is. The underlying message is one of girl power and empowerment. Bridget Jones has come a long way, baby.