Helen Fielding first examined the trials and tribulations of modern dating in London Society in her Bridget Jones Diary Column back in 1995.
The instantaneous popularity of Its poignant and punchy take on the angst of post-feminist singletons fretting over their calorie consumption, careers and quest for true love led to two novelisations and the smash-hit 2001 big screen adaptation we all secretly love.
As a side note I haven’t made a typo there, I am well aware that a second instalment exists, but much like the phrase “a face only a mother could love”, 2004s disaster “The Edge of Reason” is surely a movie only Director Beeban Kidron can claim to look back on with any sort of affection.
Thankfully Bridget’s hot mess of a life has landed safely back into the hands of Sharon Maguire who now has to negotiate our heroine through a world of Tinder, iPhones and a snobbish disdain for Chardonnay.
Of course these aren’t the only changes since Bridget last graced our screens. There are now 43 candles on the cake provided by her obliging colleagues on tacky TV news channel Hard News. She has also lost the two great loves of her life: Hugh Grant’s breezy Daniel Cleaver is dead while Colin Firths uptight Mark Darcy is married.
There is also a welcome change to Zellweger’s Bridget, who seems more like the real person seen in 2001 than the caricature who wondered dazed, almost on autopilot through the Edge of Reason. Her precision comic timing is back and her British accent is once again flawless. It’s a pleasure to see the American back on the big screen after her six year hiatus.
Skip the predictable opening scene with Bridget in her pyjamas and we soon see our intrepid heroine whisked away to a festival by her pal at work Miranda (Sarah Solemani). It’s a mix of single-girl wish fulfilment and slapstick as they go glamping and drink FAR too much. She is once again one of us, with our guilty habits, cringe-worthy moments and, of course, wobbly bits!
A quick cameo with Ed Sheeran (who must have a new album to plug) before Bridget literally falls into the arms of American Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey).He’s a charming, cocksure tech mogul who knows how to pitch woo.
Throw in a chance encounter with the impossibly stiff Darcy at Cleavers funeral and we soon find ourselves watching Bridget peeing on a stick. Damn those Dolphin-brand condoms – who knew the expiration date was real?!
The Big question: Who`s the daddy?
Sure, the love/baby triangle between our former chain-smoking spinster (preggers remember), Darcey and Qwant won’t win any points for originality, but it’s a classic rom-com pickle that has enough wit and laughs to overcome the familiarity. It’s an unapologetic delightful bit of escapist distraction from reality. There is genuinely no filler in its 122 minutes, which allows the characters breathing room to consider their choices.
In a year of comic comebacks “Bridget Jones`s Baby” stands out. Its Laugh-out-load funny, emotionally engaging and a rare perfect ending to a perfectly likeable trilogy.