Take Bridget Jones’s Diary, remove the sex, cigarettes, alcohol, swearing, and fun, and what do you get? Bridget’s latest film: Bridget Jones’s Baby.
Bridget Jones’s Diary, the first film adaptation of Helen Fielding’s series of novels, was just what a romantic comedy should be: funny, rude and full of sex. Bridget was relatable: she smoked like a chimney, drank cheap wine, had a pot belly, and couldn’t keep a boyfriend. But, best of all, she was likeable. We’ve all been Bridget at some point. We’ve all started the day with a meticulous schedule of healthy eating and exercise, and by 9pm found ourselves halfway through a bottle of wine and a family-size bar of chocolate. She was a cliché, but perfect. I was a big fan.
So it upsets me to say that Bridget Jones’s Baby, the third film adaptation, following Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (which wasn’t too bad), is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.
Set more than 10 years after Bridget’s second attempt at a relationship with the stiff Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the film starts with Bridget on her 43rd birthday. But instead of penning a list of men she wants to shag or developing a complex about which underwear is most flattering, Bridget is largely content: she’s skinny (immediately lowering her in my estimations) and has a job as a top news producer. To cut a long and rubbish story short: after a fling with an American billionaire (Patrick Dempsey) and a drunken reunion with Mark Darcy, Bridget discovers she’s pregnant. The rest of the film is spent with Bridget, the two potential fathers and a very unconvincing baby bump. Bridget Jones has grown up, is happy, and thus is extremely boring.
We’ve always cringed at Bridget. But in the first two films, we were cringing with her. Here, my friendly embarrassment turned unbearably uncomfortable, as the film tried, and failed, to make Bridget contemporary. In the scene before her and Mark awkwardly fumble around on a four-poster bed, Bridget asks him to dance to ‘Gangnam Style’ by PSY – a horrendous, faddish pop song from 2012. In its attempt to modernise Bridget, the film dates itself. She goes to Glastonbury, Soul Cycle, drinks green juice and builds IKEA furniture – it’s all too much.