Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bridget Jones's Baby [2016]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (L) (3 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J.P. McCarthy) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Walsh) review (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review 

Bridget Jones's Baby [2016] (directed by Sharon Maguire, screenplay by Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson, based on story and characters by Helen Fielding [wikip] [GR] [IMDb]) is a charming (if not necessarily demanded) "Part III" of a story that charmed "back in the day" fifteen years ago when the first film, Bridget Jones's Diary [2001] first came out.  But there it is.  Clutsy, endearing, everywoman/everyperson Bridget Jones (played wonderfully as ever by Renée Zellweger) finds herself "celebrating" alone, yet again, on her 43rd birthday (How?  See the movie, and most will immediately understand... It could honestly happen to anybody, but it still hurts). 

But our often unlucky heroine didn't not let her, yet again, quite lousy birthday get her down ;-).  She now had a (pretty) great job as a producer of a "hard-hitting" (if tabloidish) News Program called "Hard News" where her über-focused / no-nonsense anchor Miranda (played by Sarah Solemani) would take her guests (often enough quite awful/unsavory despots and/or their henchmen) to a (quite comfortable-looking) "sofa" for questioning.  (Think Monty Python's "Spanish Inquisition" -- "Bring out ... the comfy chair" ;-) ;-).   Of course, Bridget, the producer, would often get distracted by other things and feed Miranda (into whose earpiece she'd be talking) wildly inappropriate questions and comments that would, of course, "make the show" even as the questions / comments would undermine it.

Miranda, about the same age as Bridget, thankful for Bridget's unscripted goofiness (as it paid _her bills_ as well), decides that what Bridget really needs is to "hookup with a man" and get one epic ...  So she takes her to a contemporary Woodstock-like music festival complete with quite tidy Mongolian hookup "yurts" (part of the thematics of film appeared to be how everything today, even raunchy no-holds barred hedonism is actually quite scripted and sanitized today).  There she does, in fact, hook-up with an American looker (played by Patrick Dempsey) named "Jack."  A week later, at a far more traditional / staid Christianing she runs into her old and far-more stiff  British boyfriend Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth).  Despite her/their better judgement, the two end up spending the night together as well. 

A number of weeks later, Bridget finds herself pregnant, and of course, doesn't know by whom, and ... in typical Bridget Jones fashion can't seen to find an easy way to tell either of the other.  Much of course ensues ...

It makes for _a strange_ sort of comedy to write about (positively) on a Catholic blog ;-).  But underneath the story is actually a more-or-less consistent bias toward the traditional.  Yes, Bridget is a klutz.  Yes, her good yet ever-stiff ex is often incredibly boring (even to himself).  BUT ... in the end both are more authentic, more "made for each other" than the faux "über-self-realized" (nominally "far more perfect") others who surround them.

Strange as it may be, this is a goofy, middle-aged rom-com that leaves one with much to think about ;-).  (Pretty) good job!

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