‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ Offers Labored Attempt at Humor

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CHICAGO – “Bridget Jones’s Baby” is the kind of geriatric sequel that makes you retroactively question whether the original film that inspired it was all that good to begin with – it’s less a film than a labored collection of contrived situations involving pregnancy and pratfalls. It’s not painfully unwatchable, but it’s unlikely to inspire anything remotely resembling amusement in its audiences.

Renee Zellweger is back in the role that won her her first Oscar nomination, as a now 43 year- old single woman in London. I only mention her age because the film does, almost incessantly. So this time around after splitting from her on and off again beau, Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth), she’s out to take London by storm. And when I say taking the town by storm, I mean she goes to an English music festival, gets drunk, falls in the mud and has a one night stand in a Yurt with an American dating website guru Jack (Patrick Dempsey). A week later at a friend’s christening, she reconnects with Mr. Darcy and they have a fling just for old time’s sake.

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Renee Zellweger is Back as the Title Character in ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

Cue the pregnancy test, and bing there’s a baby growing inside her – but which one of these two movie star handsome men is the father? The film seems to think its audience will be entertained by endless variations on a standard issue sitcom contrivance where its heroine must be in two places at once. Even when this kind of thing is done well, it’s never quite as uproarious as lazy screenwriters and directors seem to think it will be. And here, the tedium of it all is broken up only by the presence of Emma Thompson, who might be about the only one on screen who comes within a whisker of making your mouth turn up at the ends.

Zellweger isn’t awful, even though her English accent has gotten sitcom broad and cartoonish over the course of the series, but Bridget Jones no longer resembles a human being. She stopped being relatable and became yet another hacky heroine in an impossible love triangle. Patrick Dempsey give a wooden performance unable to lend a breadth of nuance to the inane Rom-Com dialogue he’s asked to give. Colin Firth meanwhile wears an expression of quiet suffering amidst indignity throughout. Meanwhile, Hugh Grant wisely has spared himself the indignity altogether.

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Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey Join Renee Zellweger in ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

And if the standard issue romantic stuff is bad, the pregnancy related attempts at slapstick are even worse. This includes a scene where both beaus, for reasons too convoluted to go into now, try to carry a very pregnant Bridget to the hospital on foot and buckle under the weight. Ha-ha!

“Bridget Jones’s Baby” is yet another sequel that nobody – except for maybe Renee Zellweger’s agent – asked for. She should have quit while she was ahead.

”Bridget Jones’s Baby” opens everywhere on September 16th. Featuring Renee Zellweger, Gemma Jones, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Sally Phillips and Emma Thompson. Screenplay by Emma Thompson, Helen Fielding and Dan Mazer. Directed by Sharon Maguire. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters

By SPIKE WALTERS
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
spike@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2016 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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