Ah, Numero Dos. Again, for those of you who are new to the Shamedown thing, please see Cinema Shame for the whys and wherefores.
Everyone has a guilty pleasure, and one of mine happens to be Bridget Jones. Sometimes. Normally, R-ratings are a turnoff, but I’ll make an exception now and then, and Bridget has grown on me (The first book mentioned that she had an English degree, so maybe it’s a sisterhood type of thing). Anyway, I’ve always been curious about 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby because it came out twelve years after The Edge of Reason, and it’s interesting to see what filmmakers do with franchises when that much time has passed. A little disclaimer: My friends and fellow bloggers, Gill and Maddy have both warned me that this movie is kind of a stinker, but for the sake of the Shame List, I shall persevere.
The movie opens with Bridget sitting glumly on her couch in her flat. Same old couch (at least, it’s in the same spot), same old Jamie O’Neal wailing “All By Myself.” Only this time it’s her forty-third birthday, and what does the older, wiser Bridget Jones do when she’s sitting alone on her couch? Why, blast House of Pain and get the white wine flowing, of course, followed by a vigorous session of jumping on the bed.
Bridget’s attempting to make up for the uncomfortable couple of days she’s had. Her mom (Gemma Jones) woke her up with a Facetime call, showing Bridget she and Bridget’s dad’s (Jim Broadbent) morning routine in embarrassing detail. Then Bridget’s off to a funeral, where the church is packed with mourners lamenting the passing of one Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). Oddly enough, or not, about half of the people present are beautiful young women. Bridget sits with Shazzer, Jude, and their husbands, and the whole thing is made even more awkward by the presence of Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) across the aisle, who keeps staring at Bridget even though his wife is sitting next to him.
At work, Bridget looks forward to throwing herself into her job as a producer for Hard News. She hopes that none of her hipster co-workers know how old she is, but when she walks into the newsroom, everyone’s singing, “Happy forty-third birthday to you,” and carrying a cake that’s lit up like Dante’s Inferno. Way to rub Bridget’s nose in it, guys.
Bridget’s social life has shifted considerably. Shazzer (Sally Phillips) and Jude (Shirley Henderson) are both married with kids, Tom (James Callis) is now a Spin instructor, and he and his partner are going to be adopting, so his priorities are different.
Meeting men isn’t Bridget’s main goal in life anymore, but her friend, Miranda (Sarah Solemani) has decided she needs some fun. As in some no-strings-attached, blow-the-mind fun, if you get my drift. She invites Bridget out for a girls’ weekend, and Bridget shows up thinking they’re going to a spa resort.
Miranda takes Bridget to a music festival that’s like a cross between a rave and Woodstock, complete with mud, port-a-potties, and unmarked yurts. Bridget is totally unprepared for this turn of events, and one of the first things she does is trip and fall flat in the mud.
And who better to extract her than a handsome, mysterious stranger who introduces himself as Jack (Patrick Dempsey)? Yep, Dr. McDreamy.
Bridget gets away as soon as possible so as to recover her dignity, and she and Miranda have a decent time at the festival. Unfortunately, as the night wears on, she stumbles into the wrong yurt, and who should be in there but Mysterious Stranger Guy, Jack? Long story short, they have a busy night.
(Yes, I’m being a little cryptic about the specifics, because I do try to stay family-friendly here. Adults can fill in the blanks. Kids…well…can take the specifics up with Mom and Dad.)
Speaking of being cryptic, Bridget gets back to London and goes to the christening of Jude’s new baby with Shazzer and her two kids. Bridget is all set to be godmother of the new arrival. They’re stuck in London traffic, so there’s plenty of time to talk about the puppet show Bridget went to (read: one-night stand with Jack). And oh yeah, Mark Darcy is going to be Jude’s baby’s godfather.
The christening, plus the reception afterwards, are supremely awkward, of course. Bridget and Mark have to stand there and pretend to be all happy and cordial. It’s not that they hate each other, but being in close proximity to an ex can be problematic at best or worst, as pretty much everyone can attest. Especially once Mark tells Bridget he and his wife have split up. Suddenly Mark has very big eyes for Bridget, and, yeah…another busy night happens. Or puppet show, take your pick.
These metaphors are getting weird. Mmmkay, moving on…
Bridget tries to move on herself. She leaves Mark a note saying that the two of them didn’t work because he always put his job first, and they’re better off apart. She goes home, thinking that’s the end of it. At least, it seems that way until she tries on an old pair of jeans and finds they don’t fit. She’s baffled until Shazzer asks, “Are you pregnant?”
Bingo. Now, the big question is, who’s the father?
Bridget’s doctor (Emma Thompson) advises having a DNA test done on the amniotic fluid, but she’ll need to get DNA samples from both possible fathers. Only problem is, Bridget doesn’t have the foggiest what Jack’s last name is. Not for long, however. Miranda calls Bridget one morning and tells her to turn on the TV. Turns out, Jack is a gazillionaire and the owner of a dating site that uses algorithms.
An advantage of working in TV is that if one wants to make contact with famous people, one simply has to invite them to be on one’s show. Miranda does an interview with Jack on Hard News, where she asks rather pointed questions about his fertility, which makes Jack shift uncomfortably. He sees Bridget in the producer’s window, though, and tracks her down after the show is over. Naturally she tells him she’s pregnant and Jack blithely thinks he’s the father. Bridget can’t quite bring himself to tell him that he isn’t the only guy who could be.
Mark Darcy on the other hand, is much easier to find, because he’s in court defending a Russian punk band on the order of Pussy Riot (who later flash the news crews, by the way). When Bridget tells him she’s pregnant and he might be the father, he’s over the moon, as much as Deadpan Darcy can be.
And no, she doesn’t tell him about Jack. The two of them meet later at a press conference Bridget gives at her work, and hit it off. Bridget ends up telling them about each other at an Italian restaurant called Small and Beautiful, which makes the place feel even smaller and the poor bartender want to crawl into a hole.
From that point on, Mark and Jack try to outdo each other as potential fathers-to-be. Jack almost seems like he’s trying too hard, but it has the effect of lighting a fire under the placid Mr. Darcy. It also annoys Bridget: “This isn’t a competition.” Who does she end up with? That is indeed the other big question.
So, did I think this movie is a stinker? Well…yes and no. It earns its R-rating, albeit in a sedate way. It’s got plenty of language in it, which is to be expected, and there’s one scene when Jude’s tween daughter drops an F-bomb. In church, at that. It’s offputting and unpleasant when filmmakers think kids should be cussing. They’re only imitating their elders, but still. It’s not cute.
And it also seems impossible to have a Bridget Jones movie without something going incredibly, uncomfortably wrong for Bridget. Even a more poised and confident Bridget. That press conference she gave was about a new Hard News app which allowed viewers to send in their own news stories. Yeah, like that’s not problematic at all. One of their live feeds was a bunch of mountain men who moon the camera. Derp. When they reset the feed, the IT person pulled up Bridget’s Google search history, which featured, among other things, hunky guys in Speedos and a query about how to get one’s boss fired. Double derp. Why couldn’t Bridget preserve a little more of her dignity this time around? Falling in the mud is quite enough.
On the other hand, the film definitely has its fun moments. Bridget dancing to Psy at the christening is one. Emma Thompson’s Dr. Rawlings is many of the others, as her humor diffuses the discomfort Bridget, Mark, and Jack are having about their situation.
Plus, Bridget’s attitude towards her child is very sweet. I think my favorite part is when she first sees her baby on the ultrasound and starts talking to her belly. It really brought back memories of when I was carrying my son–I used to talk to him even before he was born. Bridget’s an adorable mother, and I wish the film could have developed this aspect of her story more.
Overall, I’m mixed about this film. I did a lot of eye-rolling, but I’ve certainly seen worse, and Bridget Jones’s Baby is a not-entirely-terrible wrap-up to the series. If it is a wrap-up. These days, who knows?
Aaaaand another Shamedown down. Here’s a wee preview of April:
Yeah, four of the five are in the same weekend, but it’s not as crazy as it looks (I don’t think). If anyone wants to get in on these, please visit these lovely folks:
- Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood
- Debra at Moon In Gemini
- Catherine at Thoughts All Sorts
- Virginie at The Wonderful World of Cinema
- Michaela at Love Letters To Old Hollywood
- Emily at The Flapper Dame
- Little Bits of Classics
- Christina Wehner
There’s also, of course, my blogathon, which is coming up in about two months, so if anyone wants to sign up for that one (hint, hint), here’s the link. Thanks for reading, and see you next time…