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Bridget Jones's Baby
It was only a matter of time before Hollywood's fetishization with making trilogies of any film franchise standing ventured into genres other than action films, mythologies or swords and sandals epics. And the Bridget Jones films (Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason) grossed more than a half billion dollars worldwide, so maybe this was more of a no-brainer than we thought, right? Well when the second film was a dozen years ago, maybe not so much.
The gang generally returns for Bridget Jones's Baby, which sees the now 43-year old Bridget (Renee Zellweger, Jerry Maguire) working at a television station. Her spinster friends have largely gone and moved on to families or relationships, and stand her up at her birthday so her and the station's news anchor Miranda (Sarah Solemani) go to a Ed Sheeran concert. She meets an American at the show who we find out later is named Jack (Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy), and who has discovered a scientific algorithm for love. They hook up and go on their separate ways. Later Bridget runs into her ex, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and they eventually hook up despite the fact Mark is divorcing his wife. Bridget spends the balance of the film trying to live whatever life Bridget Jones lives these days, while going through the pregnancy stuff that Judd Apatow did a lot better the first time in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and trying to find out who the father of the baby is.
Helen Fielding wrote the book that started the films, and she contributed to a screenplay which includes contributions by Dan Mazer (Borat) and Emma Thompson (Love Actually), the latter of whom appears in the film as Bridget's OB. Oddly enough over the course of the film Thompson's character appears to be having the most fun playing the goofy, perhaps even overly curt doctor, so good on her for giving herself that space to play with.
That's one of the more pleasant parts of the film, because ultimately Bridget Jones's Baby is a wholly unnecessary experience. The story wants to have its cake and eat it too, which is tick off the requisite mythological boxes that the two films laid before it. It's got a crapton of cameos from characters in the past films, including Bridget's friends and family. It's got a lot of the same mechanisms the past films did, though where past films included conflict between male characters vying for Bridget's love and affection, this one has a little more cordiality to it. Dempsey plays the character that romcom fans know and love both from his television and movie work, and Firth plays, well, Mark Darcy. He seems a bit put out by having to do this role one more time.
For that matter, the feeling of having to do this all over again seems pervasive through the ensemble. Bridget's friends are generally given a scene or two to remind you of their existence, her parents a little less so, aside from the moments when they get closer to grandparenthood. And as for Zellweger, she does get a little daring with Bridget at times, but Bridget's antics have an underpinning of desperation to them.
Consider that if Bridget Jones was part of your family (and at this point, 3 and a half hours of one's life devoted to 2 stories, excluding the book, would presumably count towards that), she'd be the crazy aunt who decided to try and settle down, and was doing that fairly badly at least as far as two hours of Bridget Jones's Baby taught us. The Bridget Jones trilogy felt like much more of a marathon than similar sets of three films have done, largely because the third film felt so obligatory, with little heartfelt commitment behind it.
The AVC encode befitting Universal's presentation of Bridget Jones's Baby is spiffy. Color reproduction is superb, and image detail is abundant, whether it's seeing raining in the dark London streets or in the countryside during the end wedding scene. Flesh tones look fine, and the image is devoid of bouts of haloing or artifacts to distract from the viewing experience. Universal may do Blu-rays the best amongst the major studios and while the story was tedious, watching it was a little less so.
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround which is impressive for the source. The Sheeran concert pulses out music and the film possesses a lot of songs throughout its two hours, all of which sound clean and sport a notable range to them. Dialogue is clean and consistent and requires little user adjustment, and while the soundtrack is a little light on directional effects and channel panning, it does expertly when called upon.
There is an alternate ending (3:51), which, OK I guess? Nine alternate/deleted scenes (17:25) include a couple of laughs but nothing memorable, a gag reel (2:06) shows a lot of Zellweger falling into the mud or onto a crash mat. There is a multi-part look at the making of the film (18:54) where the cast and crew looks at the return and the transpired time between the last film and this one, along with thoughts on one another and on the story and the challenges of making a third installment. Oh yeah, there's also a standard definition disc and digital copy.
For those who are familiar with the Jones material, Bridget Jones's Baby caters to almost all of the longings fans may have wanted, which is nice. The problem with that is that this trip is almost unendurable at times, particularly through the middle portion of the film, most of the cast feels like they want no part of the production and the end of the film feels like crossing the finish line in a triathlon. Technically the disc is quite good, the bonuses are a little underwhelming, but as far as the film goes, if you're going to commit to some finality, commit to it, you know?