Emma Thompson and Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones’s Baby (Photo: Universal)

BRIDGET JONES’S BABY
*** (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Sharon Maguire
STARS Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth

It’s been 12 years since we’ve last seen Bridget Jones, and while that comes close to the 16 years since we last spotted the Blair Witch, it must be noted that the plucky Brit has certainly held up better. As with The Blair Witch Project, the delightful 2001 feature Bridget Jones’s Diary was followed by a dismal sequel (2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) — in this case, though, there’s a Happily Ever After in the form of Bridget Jones’s Baby, which proves to be a satisfying entry in the franchise.

In this outing, Bridget (Renée Zellweger, again essaying the role that earned her an Oscar nomination) is older but not necessarily wiser, lamenting the fact that she’s alone on her 43rd birthday. But things soon improve on the romantic — well, at least sexual — front, as Bridget first hooks up with an American matchmaking guru (Patrick Dempsey) she meets at a music festival and then, a few days later, with her former lover Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), now unhappily married and on the verge of getting a divorce. Shortly thereafter, Bridget finds herself pregnant, and she sets about attempting to figure out not only which of her two beaus is the father but also which one has captured (or, in the case of Darcy, recaptured) her heart.

Bridget Jones’s Baby takes its time hitting its stride, with early sequences proving to be awkward and forced. But as the plot complications pile up, so do the opportunities for Zellweger and an ace supporting cast (including Emma Thompson, hilariously droll as Bridget’s doctor) to strut their stuff, resulting in a film that ultimately does a fine job in delivering its developments with the right amount of comic kick.

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