The grand (and totally planned) trilogy concludes…
Freaking hell, last week was rough on film releases. First we had Oliver Stone’s paranoid hero worship and then a messymessy horror remake, and now we have the (hopefully) concluding tale in the movie series that began fifteen years ago (no seriously, Bridget Jones’s Diary came out in 2001…please hold your pitchforks until after I give my review). To be honest, while I like the first film just fine, I’m shocked as hell anyone thought it deserved a sequel, much less two. So while the first one is fine romantic comedy classic to me, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was annoying, frustrating, and just not as funny as the original film. So how does the second sequel compare? Well…there’s really nowhere to go but up, though not by much.
So Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) has been divorced from Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) for a few years after the last movie (because if Grey’s Anatomy can keep up a will-they-won’t-they romance for ten plus years, so too this movie will follow). Being 43 and seeing all her old friends having less time for her since they have their families and shit, Jones hangs out with a younger coworker and heads to a music festival where she hooks with a studly American (McDreamy I mean Patrick Dempsey). About a few days later, she hooks up with Colin Firth again (probably after she saw how badass he was in Kingsman); then finds herself pregnant. Figuring this might be her last shot at having a child (no seriously, that’s the justification), she now has to choose between Darcy and the Hugh Grant replacement.
So right off the bat, I’m not entirely down on this movie. I still like Bridget Jones’s Diary quite a bit for its cleverness and funny characters, but after three films…they are beginning to feel like one note characters. What I mean is that they feel like they’re regressing rather than developing. Jones in particular feels more frustrating than the other characters, mostly because she’s acting like the same person as she was fifteen years ago. I’ve ragged on sequels in the past (particularly comedies) where the characters do not change at all because they still got to do the funny thing they were known for. And so you have Bridget Jones act like a total spaz because she can’t decide between two guys who are absolutely head over heels in love with her (for reasons not entirely clear) just like she was in the last two films.
The ugly head of sequelitis rears high over this installment as several beats from the previous films replicate themselves here. You have the breakup with both guys towards the end, you have montages with Bridget alone while a pop song plays, you have Darcy and Bridget fumble their way into sex, and you have Bridget consulting multiple people on which man she should choose or which man she hopes is her baby’s daddy. Maybe it’s not so bad for people who are total fans of the first two films, but my stance is that sequels should explore new territory with the characters rather than play the same hits. And the worst part is, the introduction of the pregnancy is completely wasted here.
First off, Jones doesn’t tell her paramours about the pregnancy until halfway through this two hour film (why is this so bloody long?) and she doesn’t tell the guys she doesn’t know who the father is until there’s 40 minutes left in the film. So the baby drama takes up a smaller portion of the movie than the trailers led on. While a few jokes are gleamed from Bridget dealing with the pregnancy, not many are gut busters and fewer still can get a decent chuckle.
Another missed opportunity was between the two rivals, Firth and Dempsey. Dempsey primarily serves as a stand in for Hugh Grant (who opted to be killed in the film rather than sit through another one of these movies), but he’s far more likable than Grant’s character was and takes the form of a billionaire dating guru all about “positive energy.” Hell he’s initially not even hostile to Firth’s character (who frustratingly still acts like he has a stick up his ass), and their interactions when fucking with each other made for some decent comedy that could have been expanded. But the film trips up when Dempsey becomes a rival for Jones’ affections, and the film isn’t clear why he’s gunning for her so hard.
Look I get why Darcy is in love with Bridget, I mean I had two movies of Colin Firth’s stick-in-the-mud shtick to convince me that she is the only person who brings life to his cold, emotionless heart. But Dempsey’s “love” for Bridget feels more like obsession than genuine emotion. He’s pretty much at her beck and call after she breaks the news and even takes the news that he might be a father way too freaking well. Yeah I know they establish that the character is a billionaire, still doesn’t explain why he’s willing to drop everything he was doing in his life for Bridget aside from wanting to spread more of his seed…that’s it. The two have nothing in common, so the romance angle doesn’t work with him.
But the romance angle with Firth’s Darcy is just played out by the third (cannot emphasize that number enough) installment. Why the hell are we watching this movie and waiting for the inevitable moment that Bridget realizes she will always love Darcy? Like she had in the previous two films? And they even rip themselves off of Bridget spying on Darcy from afar and believing he has moved on without her, they did that shit in Edge of Reason, but hey at least that proves I sat through that shit.
Look, the film isn’t painful, but it’s hardly worth recommending to anyone who isn’t a fan of the Bridget Jones books or movies. I figure they’d get a kick out of it since they clearly love this character (and her inability to grow the fuck up), so for them I’d tell them to check it out. But even then, a theater visit is simply not worth it. So this gets a low…