In an age where we are constantly bombarded with reboots, sequels, remakes and reimaginings, it was almost inevitable that the next installment of the Bridget Jones series would be continued on the screen in a similar format.
Unlike so many of continuations we’re presented with, however, a return to the world of Bridget Jones was very welcome indeed. Picking up eleven years on from the events of Bridget Jones’s Diary, we find Bridget (the excellent as ever Renée Zellweger) celebrating her 43rd birthday, yet again single and currently employed as a television producer.
After abandoning a celebratory night out thanks to cancellations from her friends due to their various family commitments, her friend and colleague Miranda (Sarah Solemani) convinces her to come along to a music festival.
There she ends up sleeping with Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), a billionaire dating site owner and – not a week later – then goes on to spend the night with with old flame Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) after meeting again at a christening where they both become Godparents. As one might discern from the title, Bridget falls pregnant without being any the wiser as to whom the father is.
It’s a comedy set up as old as the hills but it’s put to good effect with a vibrant and witty script co-authored by Emma Thompson who puts in a brilliant turn as Dr Rawlings, aided in no small part by the allocation of some cracking one liners. The performances were top notch all round with the cast clearly having a ball and relishing their return (with Sally Phillips, Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones amongst others reprising their roles).
The film contains all the hallmarks we’ve previously seen in the series: Bridget’s often abysmal social skills, her managing to screw up spectacularly at work, a warring relationship between two men competing for her heart, her oddball parents and so forth. In addition to the resurrection of the much-loved characteristics of Bridget, the movie also manages to break new ground for the character. Although often bookended by exercises in absurdity, a number of the scenes concerning Bridget’s pregnancy and the birth of the child are handled with a truly touching sensitivity that struck a chord.
Sadly, however, what the film failed to do was maintain the firm grounding in reality that Bridget Jones’s Diary achieved. As amusing as the celebrity cameos and the catastrophic broadcasts were, the real belly laughs in this series have always been derived from situations we can relate to in our own lives. That is why Bridget Jones is so beloved to so many, for embodying traits that everyone can recognise in themselves. Then again, the sometimes far-fetched situations never came anywhere close to plumbing the depths of the farcical Thai prison fiasco in The Edge of Reason.
That said, this film is a worthy return to the character and her world and whilst it falls short of the (admittedly very high) bar set by Diary, it is perfectly good fun and reminds viewers of why we all loved Bridget in the first place.