Bridget Jones's Baby Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey. Directed by Sharon Maguire. Rated R. Opens Friday citywide.
At the beginning of Bridget Jones’s Baby, rom-com icon Bridget (Renée Zellweger) laments that somehow, at 43, she’s found herself in the familiar position of spending her birthday alone on her couch, in her pajamas, blaring “All by Myself,” and it’s hard not to share her exasperation. Twelve years after her last movie (2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), the star of Bridget Jones’s Diary is still single, still indecisive about whether she loves or can’t stand humorless lawyer Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), and still regularly humiliating herself at work. Unlike Reason, Baby does take Bridget in a few new directions, but it’s still mostly redundant.
Since Hugh Grant declined to reprise his role as charming cad Daniel Cleaver, Mark’s rival this time is tech mogul Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), who’s never as roguish or clever as Daniel. After Bridget has a one-night stand with Jack and a surprise reunion with Mark, she ends up pregnant and unable to determine the paternity. This dilemma gets tedious as the movie drags on over two full hours, and while Zellweger is still immensely likable as Bridget, her antics are not as endearing as they were 15 years ago. Bridget and Mark’s initial courtship was so lovely and satisfying that putting them through the ringer yet again seems a little cruel, for both the characters and the audience.