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Bridget Jones reviewed

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It’s been 12 years since Bridget Jones graced our screens with her big pants and bottom resembling two bowling balls, so the hugely-anticipated third run was always going to attract cinema-goers in their hundreds of thousands.

But re-awakening a cinematic icon after over a decade can be risky: will the characters be too old and wrinkly for screen fodder? Will the writers still be able to make it fall apart funny? And will all the old characters be able to fit filming into their busy schedules to make us feel sufficiently like we are back in Bridget’s life? (RIP Hugh Grant).

I mean, let’s face it: Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason contained some dodgy scenes that really could have been cut out – remember the Thai girls singing Like a Virgin in prison sporting ill-fitting bras? Noooo. It’s scenes like this (and a couple more besides) that made me uneasy about joining the nation’s enthusiasm for Bridget Jones’ Baby. If the second was worse than the first, the third could well be worse than the second, right? 

Wrong. And not just a little bit wrong – this version is bigger, better and funnier than the other two, with a bang-up-to-date script, a whole cast of recognisable characters (who have all moved on in their lives) and the addition of Patrick Dempsey who is utterly brilliant. I’ve been in love with Dempsey ever since he graced our screens as brain surgeon Dr Shepherd (aka Dr McDreamy) in Grey’s Anatomy which has, coincidently, been running the for exact same number of years that Bridget has been absent (fate?).

Sally Philips returns as best friend

Sally Phillips returns as gal pal Shazza

Let’s rewind a little bit… It’s a Tuesday evening, my babysitter has arrived and my friend is on her way. I haven’t been to the cinema for what must be over six months and have tickets to the best cinema in Norwich, if not all of Norfolk, Cinema City. This beautiful Grade I listed building – once a partly medieval merchant’s house – boasts stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings, a great bar selling locally-produced snacks and homemade cake (and, yes adults are trusted to take real glasses of real booze into the screens), a restaurant serving venison steaks amongst other delicious dishes and an outdoor courtyard that is quaint and gorgeous in equal measure.

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Being independent, Cinema City often flexes its creative muscles and pulls something brilliant out of the bag for popular films – this evening is no exception, with some flourishes to celebrate this hotly-awaited return that are anything but pants (oh, wait…).

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As for the movie, the writers have cleverly elevated Bridget’s social status beyond the ditzy, career-suicidal, vodka-drinking singleton she was in the first two, with a great career as a broadcast journalist, a nice flat, longer hair and smaller bowling balls. She isn’t unrecognisable though – early scenes depicting her blowing out one lonely birthday candle before quaffing loads of wine and jumping up and down on the bed, and falling face down into the mud at a festival. Welcome back, Bridget!

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The general premise? After recently splitting up with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), Jones now maintains that she’s both happy and finally in control of her life – until handsome American Jack Qwant (Dempsey) sweeps her off her feet. And then, rather inconveniently, she finds herself pregnant and is unsure whether Mark or Jack is the father.

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It really is laugh-out-loud funny, but perhaps one of the best castings is Emma Thompson as Bridget’s maternity doctor – it’s worth going to the cinema just to see this piece of acting brilliance. Bravo Thompson!

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I won’t give anymore away, except to say that it’s so good that I might even go and see it again (and I never do that!). In short, go – you won’t regret it.

Bridget Jones’ Baby is playing at Cinema City until Thursday 6 October.
St Andrew’s Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4AD. Tel: 0871 902 5724. picturehouses.com/cinema/Cinema-City

 

 

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