15 – 123mins – 2016
Twelve years, many a failed relationship and a considerable number of shedded pounds after her last big screen foray and everyone’s favourite everygirl singleton is back – and everything is v. much as it was after Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, even if her friends are all now settled down with young families and her famous diary is now being typed on an iPad.
Still single, still calorie-counting, still singing into hairdryers on a Saturday night and still putting her foot in it (both literally and metaphorically), middle-aged Bridget (a trimmed down Renée Zellweger) may have lost her beaus (Daniel Cleaver is AWOL while Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy is five years married) but she is nevertheless just as plucky, hapless and positively endearing as ever, pulling you back into her hapless relationship drama and effortlessly making you feel not just for her “Who’s the Daddy?” predicament, but also the myriad characters – new and old, friends and family – in her ever-complicated life.
I’m clueless as to why they have swerved creator Helen Fielding’s recent third novel in favour of adapting some of her fictional newspaper columns into a screenplay, but the memorial at the start of proceedings clearly assumes you’ve already read Mad About the Boy by making light of a grave situation with a cheeky slice of misdirection.
Recruiting original Diary directory Sharon Maguire, this belated sequel could easily have been as rigidly cemented in the template of the iconic first outing as the familiarly frustrating 2004 sequel was, but with Emma Thompson polishing a script from Helen Fielding and Dan Mazer (and writing a scene-stealing role for herself), Bridget Jones’s Baby perfectly ages the drama while remaining as recognisable and relatably charming as ever.
CR@B’s Claw Score: