BRIDGET JONES’ S BABY — Review by Susan Granger

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The long-awaited third installment begins as charmingly awkward, accident-prone Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is celebrating her 43rd birthday – alone, once again – with Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.” A funeral flashback reveals that Bridget’s caddish boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), has died and her longtime lover, successful barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), is married to a woman named Camilla. Read on…

Bridget is a successful TV news show producer and her best-friend, anchorwoman Miranda (Sarah Solemani), has concocted a plan to launch her back into the dating world during a weekend at the Glastonbury Music Festival.

That’s where American billionaire Jack Quant (Patrick Dempsey) gallantly pulls her out of a mud puddle. He’s CEO of an online dating website. Later that night, he and Bridget hook up in his ornate yurt.

A week later, at a christening, Bridget discovers that Mark Darcy is getting a divorce, and their nostalgic chemistry re-ignites.

As a result of these two romantic encounters, Bridget’s pregnant. But who’s the father? Since Bridget’s terrified of having amniocentesis, not even her obstetrician (Emma Thompson) knows, cynically quipping, “It doesn’t matter. All they’re good for is fitting car seats and blaming things on.”

Both suitors are surprisingly acquiescent to claiming parenthood. Indeed, they soon become competitive. And when her water breaks, both men rush her to the hospital, defying a traffic jam by carrying her cross-town through the streets of London.

Filled with characters adapted from her own best-selling novel, the script by author Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson, again directed by Sharon Maguire, reflects a changing cultural climate, particularly about gender equality. As a result, while still insecure, Bridget is less body image-obsessed.

The same can be said for Renee Zellweger, who took a six-year break from acting, living on a 40-acre farm in Connecticut. Middle-aged Bridget’s gamely grappling with feeling increasing irrelevant in a workplace populated by people decades younger obviously touched a chord within Zellweger.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Bridget Jones’s Baby” delivers an endearing 8, a sparky screwball comedy worth waiting for.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.