As creative pregnancies go, Bridget Jones’s Baby has taken longer than most to come full-term. It’s been 12 years since Renee Zellweger adopted a near-flawless English accent to portray the hapless singleton in Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason.
In the interim, writer Helen Fielding has delivered a third novel, Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy, but it’s her series of newspaper columns from more than a decade ago that fertilizes this haphazard, yet joyful stumble into motherhood.
Here Bridget careens at high speed towards her 43rd birthday without a wedding ring on her finger. She works as a producer at Hard News alongside old boss Richard Finch (Neil Pearson) and newscaster pal Miranda (Sarah Solemani), who suggests a hedonistic girls-only weekend at a music festival.
A late-night blunder into the wrong yurt leads to a spontaneous coupling with a handsome American love guru called Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey). A few days later, Bridget is powerless to resist the silky charms of old flame Mark Darcy (Firth), who is separating from his wife. A pregnancy test at work confirms that Bridget is about to gain weight. If only she knew who was the father...
Zellweger slips back into the title role with ease, oozing lovability, fragility and regret as she wonders how to broach the subject of paternity with her two suitors.
Set-pieces including a tussle with a revolving door are genuinely hysterical and Thompson nabs several of the best lines as Bridget’s despairing obstetrician, including a zinging one-liner that advises expectant fathers against witnessing the miracle of birth firsthand.
Ignorance, like Maguire’s rumbustious film, is bliss.
On general release
By Damon Smith