'Bridget Jones's Diary' was an immensely enjoyable film. It had a lot going for it, and succeeded on almost every level. It didn't cover much new ground and didn't break any conventions, but it was warm, charming, hugely funny and sometimes poignant, with a great cast. 'Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason' was however a big step down, despite being adeptly played it lost a lot of what made 'Bridget Jones's' Diary so good.
Heard a lot of different opinions on 'Bridget Jones's' Baby. Some people said that it was a return to form and a huge improvement over 'Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason'. Others said that it was worse and had no point to it. Having seen it myself, initially worried but really wanting to like it and judge it as mindless entertainment, to me it was an improvement but not by much. Not a return to form and nowhere near as good as 'Bridget Jones's Diary'. There are things that are done better here, but there are also the same mistakes and also a few different ones.
It has its good points certainly. 'Bridget Jones's Baby' looks good, being mostly attractive visually in a film that doesn't require epic sweeping cinematography or opulence while still being beautifully shot and with striking locations.
Again, like the previous two films, 'Bridget Jones's' Baby' is adeptly played. Renee Zellwegger, whose Bridget is nowhere near as much a parody or the butt of the joke like in 'Edge of Reason', overdoes it in the facial expressions (on a side note, and no shallowness intended, the Botox does not help),but really attempts and succeeds at bringing out the great qualities of her acting in the previous two films, trying to bring out the funny, adorably awkward and sympathetic sides of her character when the material allows it and her accent more than game.
Colin Firth is sophisticated, understated and charmingly stoic. Gemma Jones and Jim Broadbent seem incapable of giving bad performances, though they did deserve more to do, while Sarah Solemani brings an enjoyable amount of sauciness. The casting highlight however is Emma Thompson, who is a hoot and is a breath of fresh air with the funniest material. On that note, there are more amusing moments here than there were in 'Edge of Reason', Thompson's material mostly but also the reason for Hugh Grant's absence and Ed Sheeran. The soundtrack is more appealing this time round with better choice of songs.
For all those good things, the story is even more contrived and predictable than 'Edge of Reason', and, apart from a few good moments, too much of the writing and gags are tired, recycled and even more stale, freshness was sorely lacking here. The romantic elements are lacking in heart and warmth and, despite a subject that so many people would relate to, 'Bridget Jones's Baby' does little with the subject and offers nothing illuminating.
Some of the subplots are strange and clumsily used, especially the one dealing with the punk rock, which didn't seem to fit. Patrick Dempsey is a comparatively fairly weak and mediocre at best substitute for the much missed Hugh Grant (who excelled so well at playing against type previously),having much less of his charm and charisma and instead coming off as both bland and annoying.
While the songs themselves are good, the placement for some isn't, with some misplaced randomness going on. Sharon Maguire's direction is more competent here but is still uninspired, while there is some amateurish editing and obvious, cheap use of green screen.
Overall, not awful but a disappointment and should have been so much better. Instead of laughing consistently, being touched or oohing and ahhing, found myself questioning 'Bridget Jones's Baby's' necessity and thinking "so what?". 5/10 Bethany Cox