Dear diary, the plot sorely lacks a villain
BRIDGET JONES'S BABY (NC16)
123 minutes / Romantic comedy
Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is 43 and alone. A friend tells her to freeze her eggs. She says it's too late because "they
are probably hard-boiled by now".
But chance encounters with the freshly divorced Mark Darcy
(Colin Firth) and Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey) result in her getting pregnant. She leads each man to believe he is the father; and in doing their fatherly duties, both fall in love with her.
THIS movie was supposed to have been made years ago but script problems and star Renee Zellweger's five-year break from show business put the project on ice.
In fact, the disappearance of Hugh Grant, who as the ne'er-do-well Daniel Cleaver formed one corner of the love triangle in the previous two Bridget Jones films, is a side-effect of the script turmoil.
The foil to the repressed but eminently suitable Darcy (Firth) is now American actor Dempsey, who plays Qwant, a love cynic who has nonetheless created a successful dating app.
Jones is a television news producer beloved by her colleagues but she lives in a tiny flat and celebrates her birthday at home with booze and ice cream.
She is chased by two middle-aged dreamboats - one is a human rights lawyer and the other a fabulously rich entrepreneur - but she cannot quite get her act together as a fully functioning adult.
This is an unabashed fairy tale. But as wish-fulfilment fantasies go, it has more than a few funny moments and makes the effort to ground itself in reality.
But the best jokes come from other players, including Emma Thompson as the no-nonsense obstetrician (she is also credited as a co-writer).
Sharon Maguire, who helmed the first movie Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), returns to direct. She keeps the same light hand on the jokes, but without Grant's deliciously despicable Cleaver, she fights an uphill battle.
Dempsey provides eye candy for the soccer-mum set but he is no Grant. Without Cleaver, the story loses the drive that only a villain can provide.