The long-awaited sequel to "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" (2004) and the third film in the franchise, "Bridget Jones's Baby" is a more-than-satisfactory completion of the on-going saga of poor Bridget's (Renée Zellweger) love life.


"Bridget Jones's Baby" begins with 43-year-old Bridget celebrating her birthday all alone at home. Her pal at work, Miranda (Sarah Solemani), decides Bridget needs a good "shag" and whisks her off to a weekend outdoor concert, where Bridget gets rescued --- and shagged --- by Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey).


Back at home, Bridget attends the funeral service for Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her old boss and paramour, who died in a plane crash in Africa. She is surprised and nonplussed when Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) arrives with his wife, Camilla (Agni Scott), in tow.


That same weekend, Bridget is Godmother for one of her friends and arrives at the church to find that Mark is the Godfather. After much awkwardness --- and the revelation that Mark and Camilla are divorcing ---

one thing leads to another, and Bridget and Mark reunite in the bedroom.


Weeks later, after Bridget and Miranda conduct a pregnancy test in their workplace bathroom --- a rather silly and stupid scene --- Bridget visits her gynecologist, Dr. Rawlings (Emma Thompson) and tries her best to determine which suitor, Jack or Mark, might be the father. Unable to pinpoint just who the father really is, Bridget now faces the task of telling both of them she's pregnant --- and that either of them could be a new daddy.


"Bridget Jones's Baby" gets off to a rocky start. Though I love Solemani and her character Miranda, I intensely dislike the concert setup. The original script by Helen Fielding, who wrote the Bridget Jones novels and  column for "The Independent", and Paul Fieg was re-written by Emma Thompson and Dan Mazer, and it's easy to see why. Romantic comedies are the most difficult to pull off well, I think, and some of the ridiculous moments in "Bridget Jones's Baby", like the bathroom scene and the concert, prove that.


But, after Mr. Darcy makes his appearance --- the ALWAYS fabulous Firth --- things improve greatly. Firth is simply perfect, allowing his expressions to speak volumes. All these years we have hoped that Mark and Bridget would end up together --- and now this!


I was never a fan of Dr. McDreamy on "Grey's Anatomy", so Dempsey does nothing for me. But I understand his appeal, and he is fairly entertaining as a dating site based-on-algorithms guru who has never had a serious relationship. Of course, we have the requisite near drowning scene where Jack must take off his shirt and dive into the pool to save Bridget --- another not-needed episode, but I'm sure his fans will be thrilled.


Zellweger is as adorable as ever. Bridget may be a bit flaky, but Zellweger never lets her get too out-of-hand. David and our daughter Olivia, who was an extra in "Bridget Jones's Baby", both loved the sequence with flummoxed Bridget trying to introduce Mark to an Indian gentleman whose name she can't pronounce. It is a rather hilarious bit, but I prefer watching both Mark and Jack trying to carry Bridget to the hospital, then through a revolving door --- hysterical.


Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent --- two of my favorites --- are back as Bridget's lovely and endearing Mum and Dad. "Bridget Jones's Baby" boasts a great cast and overall pretty solid writing thanks to Thompson, who is absolutely a hoot as the sarcastic doctor. It's not perfect, but "Bridget Jones's Baby" is well worth a viewing.


Opinion:  See It Now!




"Bridget Jones's Baby" survives a shaky opening 45 minutes by redeeming itself with a charming second half that practically guarantees a fourth chapter in Bridget's (Renée Zellweger) life. The mostly trite and predictable first half necessarily sets up her alcohol-induced encounter with the handsome American, Jack (Patrick Dempsey), and her chance reunion with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth).


Early on, I found myself filling in bits of dialogue before they were even spoken. And the team of writers found it essential to litter their script with a multitude of "F" bombs, including one from a precocious little girl, none of which is remotely vital to the story. And when Bridget stumbles face first into a pile of mud at a music festival, her rescuer is, of course, Jack. But the whole sequence feels completely contrived.


Nevertheless, "Bridget Jones's Baby" eventually morphs into a very funny, and occasionally poignant film that will satisfy most moviegoers. The sight of Darcy and Jack struggling to carry a very pregnant Bridget to the hospital delivery room --- traffic was blocked by a lesbian-rights march, a running gag in the film --- is amusing enough. But when the hapless trio is mashed into a revolving door, it's a laugh-out-loud moment.


The funniest scene has Bridget trying to foist off Darcy at a convention by introducing him to an Indian bystander with one of those unpronounceable names --- it's an hysterical, albeit brief, episode that should not offend anyone from India. I sat there wanting more of this clever humor, but aside from witty repartee from Bridget's Dr. Rawlings (Emma Thompson, who also co-wrote the script), "Bridget Jones's Baby" is formulaic in its approach. Yet it still works.


The talented Zellweger, now 47, plays the 43-year-old Bridget whose condition is referred to by her doctor as a geriatric pregnancy. The actress is a three-time Oscar nominee (winning once for "Cold Mountain") who deserves credit for an outstanding turn as a successful career woman, but a rather lost soul in her private life. Her antics and pained expressions in the delivery room are realistic and comical at the same time.


The two male leads are thoroughly professional. Firth is exceptional in whatever role he assumes. The 56-year-old Brit's legacy will always be his unforgettable, Oscar-winning performance in "The King's Speech", but he handles lighter fare in his seemingly effortless manner. Dempsey's Jack is a likeable character, and appears to be a good match for Bridget.


"Bridget Jones's Baby"  returns Jim Broadbent as Bridget's dad ---  his part is vastly under utilized --- and Gemma Jones as Bridget's mum, amusing as a candidate for public office, of sorts. I liked supporting turns from Kate O'Flynn as Bridget's new, younger, condescending boss at her TV station, and especially Sarah Solemandi as Miranda, the TV show's host. However, the scene in which Miranda is supposed to interview an Asian dictator, but ends up questioning his Asian chauffeur instead, is as baffling as it is unfunny.


The on-going question in this film, of course, is who is the father of the title baby? And will that determine if Bridget decides to take one of them as her life partner? Both Mark and Jack have announced their love and commitment to Bridget, although I found Jack's rather sudden devotion not completely convincing. However, that enigma isn't resolved until the very end, and hopefully fans of the franchise will not learn of the outcome beforehand.


And speaking of the end, watch for a brief shot of a newspaper clipping. It suggests rather strongly that we haven't seen the last of Bridget Jones or her baby.


Opinion:  See It Now!