Renée Zellweger shines in 'Bridget Jones's Baby'


As it can be recalled, the second movie ended with Bridget remaining single.

The fitfully amusing, intermittently entertaining screenplay by Dan Mazer, Fielding, and Emma Thompson - the latter also playing a supporting role as Bridget's brusque obstetrician - is based not on the series' third book (Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy), but instead on a number of independent columns by Fielding and it manages to stand alone sufficiently for viewers who haven't seen the earlier installments.

Thompson nabs several of the best lines as Bridget's despairing obstetrician, including a one-liner that advises expectant fathers against witnessing the miracle of birth firsthand.

"Bridget Jones's Baby" is centered on Bridget, enjoying her mid-40s when suddenly she gets pregnant.

Back to Bridget, who admittedly is trapped in one of the hoariest premises in the romantic comedy playbook: She doesn't know which of the two men she recently had impulse sex with is the father, and never mind that this could be settled with a quick scrape of DNA.

Or maybe it's having Emma Thompson as one of the writers on the screenplay. While Zellweger slips easily enough back into the role - the snarky speculation about her appearance notwithstanding - the "Which dreamboat will she pick?" meme certainly qualifies as a high-class problem. Colin Firth's Mark Darcy, and he's just as uptight and square as ever... Has Bridget Jones gotten her groove back?

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Fans will be pleased to know that the new movie, Bridget Jones's Baby, is very amusing. Will it be on-off partner Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), or new love interest Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey)?

What follows is a slightly overlong sitcom as Bridget tries to juggle two potential dads until a paternity test can decide, but the cast makes even the routine stuff sparkle.

Overall, with an equal balance of comedy and drama, Bridget Jones's Baby is a satisfying end to the story of a career woman unlucky in love. Kate O'Flynn turns in a broad comic performance as Bridget's hostile new boss, Alice Peabody, whose solution to everything is more cat videos. She can be a big kid at work, but she values professional integrity above dignity.

She does, in fact, have a groove, perhaps for the first time. Zellweger and her director are determined to let everyone in on the joke, and it helps that she will do anything to get a laugh, and she does. Bridget and Mark's initial courtship was so lovely and satisfying that putting them through the ringer yet again seems a little cruel, for both the characters and the audience.

She hasn't had a bite from a network, she said, miming a tear.