Skip the middle, ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ lacks substance

Rachel Schten

 

Courtesy of Universal Studios

If you only watched the beginning of “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” fast forwarded through the middle and then watched the very end, you would understand the entirety of the plot as well as each character’s persona. You might even love the movie.

The opening scene is hilarious and engaging yet endearingly depressing—Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is alone on her 43rd birthday and ends up lip syncing to “Jump Around” while drinking white wine and eating a sad, singular cupcake. In the following scenes, Jones and her younger work friend head to a huge music festival and end up bumping into Ed Sheeran, though they don’t recognize him until they see him onstage later.

Late that night, Jones serendipitously ends up spending the night at the festival with Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey) after mistaking his tent for her own.

Jones ends up having another one night stand a week later, this time with her ex boyfriend, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth).

The plot begins to thicken when Jones discovers she is pregnant and doesn’t know whether Jack or Mark is the father.

The middle of “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” makes up the meat of the movie and is meant to develop the characters, but fails at both objectives and is also confusing at times, due to Jones’s flip flops between her two potential baby daddies. Her indecision quickly becomes tiresome due to cliche dialogue and poor chemistry between the three central characters.

However, Zellweger’s performance gives the film a touch of interest and originality. She is hilarious, lovable, and feels incredibly real. She is far from perfect and the director lets you see her be raw and refreshingly human. In addition, Zellweger’s facial expressions and body language are masterful. She perfectly conveys a wide range of emotions, from bewilderment to contentment to helpless embarrassment, even though the dialogue in the movie is simplistic and at times awkward due to the aforementioned lack of chemistry between Zellweger, Firth, and Dempsey.

Qwant is a poorly developed character and lacks substance. It seems that his sole purpose in the film is to act as the antithesis of Jones’s ex.

While Qwant is casual, romantic, spontaneous and American, Darcy is uptight, stiff, work-obsessed, and British, although character is also rather underdeveloped. However, this is because “Bridget Jones’s Baby” is the third Bridget Jones movie that Darcy has been a central character in. It was preceded by “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001) which was nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film and a Golden Globe Award for Best Musical or Comedy and “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” (2004) which was nominated for a People’s Choice Award, so it is expected that audiences may have some familiarity with Firth’s character.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” was a film adaptation of a modern reinterpretation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” written by Helen Fielding and published in 1996 while “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” was a continuation of the “Bridget Jones’s Diary” storyline. However, watching the third installment in this series without first watching the preceding two doesn’t make much of an impact on the viewer’s experience. “Bridget Jones’s Baby” references its prequels only a handful of times throughout the movie so the plot makes sense even without knowing the broader context of the series.

“Bridget Jones’s Baby” gives fans of the Bridget Jones series long-awaited closure. Though it starts with energy and humor, the movie drags on and on with unengaging emotional indecisiveness and uninspiring dialogue. However, it concludes with a pleasantly surprising twist. Though the ending is more memorable than the majority of the movie, it is not impactful enough to justify the plotless, monotonous middle.

 

Video Courtesy of Universal Studios