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BRIDGET JONES'S BABY: DVD

SYNOPSIS: Bridget Jones (RenŽe Zellweger) has left Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and met Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey) - and fallen pregnant. To one of them, not sure which ...

Review by Louise Keller:
Filled with priceless laugh out loud moments, everything comes together in this last chapter of the irresistible Bridget Jones story: it's a wonderfully funny film punctuated by all the expected misadventures and gaffs. Helen Fielding's endearing characters have remained intact, largely due to the splendid script written in collaboration with Dan Mazer and the talented Emma Thompson. The humour is a welcome combo of character based, slapstick and situation comedy. Director Sharon Maguire (who also directed Bridget Jones's Diary in 2001) is at the helm again, ensuring the threads of authenticity and continuity are woven throughout, from the early establishment scenes until the film skyrockets for the hilarious climactic final scenes. It's a joyous, uplifting feel-good film

It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since we first met Renee Zellweger as Bridget, the self-deprecating, plump London single girl in search of love. We are quickly brought up to speed: Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) has remarried, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) is out of the picture and Bridget is still single and putting her foot in her mouth without even trying. The gags are no longer about weight with Bridget having reached her perfect size, but there is abundant fodder about bonking, spinsterhood and men.

Once again, there are two men in Bridget's life: the suave Patrick Dempsey as Jack Qwant, a matchmaking website mogul, and Colin Firth as the reserved, conservative barrister Mark Darcy. The circumstances when Bridget meets Jack and bumps into Mark are unexpected and funny: it is the way these situations unfold that makes everything so amusing. There is a funeral, a christening, a wedding and a music festival, which is where the inappropriately dressed Bridget is face down in the mud, when she meets Jack.

The laughs begin from the outset in the television studio where Bridget works, when she feeds the wrong lines to Miranda (Sarah Solemani), her zany friend and TV host (when broadcasting live to air). My favourite scenes are those that showcase Colin Firth's delicious dry reserve, when he struggles valiantly to reveal his emotions. Dempsey is good too: it is not an easy role to charm us so convincingly as the new man in Bridget's life. Bridget's pregnancy is the pivot around which everything swings. Meanwhile, all the gang from the previous films reappear like welcome old friends: Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones as Bridget's parents and Bridget's friends. Watch out for Ed Sheeran in a fun cameo. Emma Thompson as Bridget's caustic gynecologist is divine; the line she delivers just before the baby's birth brings the house down.

All the story strands are beautifully managed and amid hilarity and turmoil, the film ends on a high note. Isn't that what we wanted for Bridget Jones, the lovable single girl looking for love?

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's the same Bridget 'hapless' Jones we first met 15 years ago, the insecure, the vulnerable - but no longer overweight - Bridget, and the spinster still ... Reassuringly and entertainingly, that unique screen character has again recorded her daily life & strife, taking us into her confidence when others would definitely not. But it's exactly why we find her appealing, honestly blurting out what she thinks and feels when life gets complicated - or you just lock yourself out of your house without a phone.

Hilariously inventive and far more textured than a one joke script, Bridget Jones's Baby is not only relevant and smart, it is a bit subversive and sarcastic, too. Emma Thompson who is one of the writers, also plays Dr Rawling the gynaecologist and has the film's funniest line, delivered (ahem, pardon the pun) just before the baby is actually born. But there are many more, and not just comedic dialogue but comedic scenes, all acutely observed.

Patrick Dempsey's character, Jack the relationship guru with algorithms as his tools, is the major new character and it is a crucial role for the film. He is perfectly cast. Zellweger and Firth are as watchable as ever, total opposites as characters and remarkably effective as actors.

I admit to some apprehension in advance of the film, worried lest the screenplay would be a pale imitation of previous works, relying on familiarity and the actors to hold on to the magic. I need not have worried; the familiarity and the actors are there all right, but the screenplay rises to the occasion and is a great example of writing for the screen. I should also mention director Sharon Maguire, who directed the 2001 original and again nails it.

You don't have to have seen either that 2001 original or the 2004 sequel (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) to get a kick out this final instalment of Bridget's diary; it works perfectly well as a stand alone. For those of us who have followed her from the start, it's a delicious and satisfying closure.

Published December 15, 2016

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BRIDGET JONES'S BABY: DVD (M)
(Ireland/UK/France/US, 2016)

CAST: RenŽe Zellweger, Patrick Dempsey, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Shirley Henderson, Jim Broadbent, Celia Imrie, James Callis, Daniel Stisen, Sarah Solemani, Sally Phillips, Gemma Jones, Enzo Cilenti, Mark Arnold

PRODUCER: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward

DIRECTOR: Sharon Maguire

SCRIPT: Emma Thompson, Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer (characters by Helen Fielding)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn

EDITOR: Melanie Oliver

MUSIC: Craig Armstrong

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Paul Kelly

RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 15, 2016

PRESENTATION: 16:9

SPECIAL FEATURES: .

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 14, 2016







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