Pop Culture Princess

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Bad Movie Month gets a sitter for Bridget Jones's Baby

Welcome to our second installment of Bad Movie Month as we continue to say "Badly Done, Brits" and once again, Colin Firth is front and center for his third appearance as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones's Baby.

To be fair, this film is a vast improvement from Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason(it helps that the original director came back) and is mediocre at best.

Also, this third act wasn't based on one of the Helen Fielding novels that brought Bridget Jones to life. Fielding did write a third book but she killed off Mark Darcy(which outraged fans) and the movie makers decided to go with a wholly different concept.

Here, we start with Bridget attending Daniel Cleaver's funeral(Hugh Grant wisely chose not to be involved with this one) and running into Mark, who she has been separated from long enough for him to marry someone else. While she still has a few regrets over that, Bridget prefers to deal with turning 43 by going to a music festival with one of her younger co-workers.

There's plenty of jokes aimed at the younger generation here such as referring to the festival as "Sodom and Gomorrah with tofu" but the worst bit is an extended Ed Sheeran cameo that seems to never end.

It was fine enough when Bridget and her friend don't recognize him for a photo op and then see him in concert where Bridget is still clueless about who he is(and does a bit of crowd surfing, which seems rather dated) but it's not over yet as Bridget's buddy runs into him yet again and the whole thing ends with Sheeran and the work gal pal crashing a giant rolling ball into some porta-potties.

Anyway, the point of the music festival sequence is for Bridget to meet Jack(Patrick Dempsey) via falling into the mud and accidentally entering his yurt late at night. After their one night stand, Bridget hooks up with a soon-to-be-divorced Mark Darcy while attending a christening and you guessed it, she's pregnant and unsure of who the father is.

There's a long bit of sitcom contrivance as Bridget has the chance to inform each man that she's uncertain of whom made her expecting a child but she can't bring herself to do so. Of course, that big reveal moment is done in a public place(an Italian restaurant that plays a ridiculous part in getting Bridget to the hospital later on) and awkward for so many reasons:

This leads Mark and Jack to compete for Bridget's affections and audition for the fatherhood role,which at least does not end in a public slap fight.

I have to take a moment to talk about Dempsey,aka "McDreamy" of Grey's Anatomy fame at this point in his career. The character is a rich American with a matchmaking website and rather hippy-dippy in nature. With all of his supplying Bridget with healthy drinks and home decor to stimulate the baby's senses, Jack comes across as a watered down Alan Alda, which is bland on top of bland!

He does act a bit smarmy at times, even stooping to tell Mark that Bridget did not use one of her expired vegan condoms with him(a gag that makes me gag) and playing on the mistaken notion of a natural childbirth instructor that Jack and Mark are a gay couple adopting Bridget's baby. Even when trying to be bad, Dempsey is such a dull dud at it:

Firth does seem to have a little more energy as Mark Darcy here than in the last film but at times you can tell that he feels this set of worn out comedy tropes are beneath him.

Who can blame him, with the constant references to how old Bridget is(I hate the term "geriatric pregnancy" even if it's a current medical phrase) and jokes about the dissident rock band that Mark is defending in court which he even grumbles about how awful their music is and can understand why they're being repressed by their government.

As in Edge of Reason, Bridget's parents and friends are squeezed into barely-there subplots, with Bridget's mum running for council and winding using her daughter's unexpected pregnancy to her political advantage for one. Her trio of original friends are avoided mostly at first because they have families and kids(Bridget prefers to be seen as a "SILF" as in "Singleton, I'd Like to...) but Shazzer does get a little more screen time,perhaps due to the fact that the actress playing her happens to be the director-just saying!

 Anyway, more misunderstanding occur until it's time for the baby to arrive and that entire race to the hospital bit is embarrassing even on a sitcom level. Mark finds Bridget locked out of her house(in a huge pity inducing sequence that involves being caught in the rain and leaving her phone at a closed ATM) and her water breaks before they have that reconciliation kiss.

They then recruit a pizza delivery van(from that restaurant visit earlier) to drive them, only to get stuck in traffic ,thanks to protest march lead by Mark's rebel rock band and then Mark carries Bridget to the hospital,struggling mightily even as Jack catches up with them to help. It's so painful to watch that not even Emma Thompson showing up to crack wise as the baby doctor can ease this cinematic suffering:

While Bridget Jones's Baby is more watchable than Edge of Reason, it's not that much better and hopeful this will be last of Bridget and company that we see on screen.

Oddly enough, Helen Fielding is credited as one of the writers on the script for this and she wrote a tie-in book for the movie,which is not based on the book she wrote in the first place! Oh, well, we still have the first Bridget Jones to enjoy and swoon over Colin Firth with.

While Hugh Grant was smart enough to stay out of this middling mess, he has plenty of bad movies on his resume and next week, we'll be looking at one he didn't avoid,Did You Hear About the Morgans? Failing marriage comedy meets Witness Protection jokes and fish out of water skits, this movie just sounds like a smorgasbord of stupid indeed:

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