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BRIDGET JONES

RENEE, THOSE UNDERPANTS & THE UNLIKELY HEROINE

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By Jess Fenton
4th September 2016
15 years ago, actor Renée Zellweger brought to life the literary juggernaut Bridget Jones. No longer was this deeply flawed yet insanely lovable woman confined to the page - we were now witnesses to is all; drinking like a fish, smoking like a chimney, the verbal diarrhea and dressing like her mother. Bridget was all of us and none of us at the same time. Renée walked away with an Oscar nomination, critical praise, masses of new-found fans and bragging rights to all the haters who lost their proverbial shit when a Yank was cast of a most beloved Brit. Three years later, Renée and rest of the love triangle returned for the sequel ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’. Not quite a word-for-word adaptation of the book, fans weren’t gifted with the Bridget Jones Colin Firth interview until the DVD extras came out. So, the sequel did what sequels do best; double the budget, halve the gross and alienate a majority of the fans when it fails to live up to expectations and, of course, the magic of its predecessor. In the 12 years since ‘Edge of Reason’, Renée has gained Oscar glory, as has her co-star Colin Firth when he won in 2011 for ‘The King’s Speech’. But while Firth parlayed his new “Oscar Winner” moniker into one of the most respected and sought-after careers in Hollywood, Zellweger made a string of instantly forgettable flops and had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it marriage to Kenny Chesney. Then in 2014, after years of absenteeism from the public eye, Renée rocked the red carpet at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards and was barely recognisable, lighting up social media and the tabloids as to exactly what and how much plastic surgery she’d undertaken. Naturally, Renée denied everything, chocking it all up to the simple act of aging and happiness. Nonetheless, Renée has now returned to her successful roots with the release of ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’.
'BRIDGET JONES' BABY' TRAILER 2

In 2013 novelist Helen Fielding released the third ‘Bridget Jones’ book; ‘Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy’ in which Bridget is now a forty-something widow, meaning the beloved Mark Darcy is dead. Since producing a Mark Darcy-less Bridget Jones film would have been a complete non-starter, the filmmakers have totally (and thankfully) strayed from the novel and created an entirely original story. ‘Baby’ reunites Renée, Colin and ‘Diary’ director Sharon Maguire. But this time there’s no Daniel Cleaver (AKA Hugh Grant), and instead we get McDreamy Patrick Dempsey as the triangle newcomer. Penning the script is the returning Helen Fielding, making sure her creation remains intact, and along for the ride is fellow novelist/screenwriter David Nicholls aaaaand *squeeeee* the incomparable Emma Thompson, who also features in the film as Bridget’s OBGYN.

With the (majority) of the gang all back together, one can’t help but ask where this new sequel sits with fans? It’s not an adaptation of the third novel so we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. However, we have no Daniel Cleaver, and is a decade enough time to forgive the supreme disappointment that was ‘Edge of Reason’? (I mean come on! Bridget was in a Thai prison for drug trafficking!) Needless to say, ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ has a lot of pressure on it. But what about the now 47-year-old Zellweger? We haven’t seen her in six years. We haven’t liked her in 12 years. And Hollywood is notoriously unkind to an ageing woman. Regardless, fans will flock to see their beloved Bridget and all her foibles grace the big screen once again. Lookyloos will pay their hard-earned money so they can engage in nasty gossip regarding Renée’s face over lattes post-screening. And ever since Dempsey’s character bit the big one last year on Grey’s Anatomy, fans will be seriously jonesing for their McDreamy fix. As for Colin Firth - well, he will always be Mr Darcy in that clingy white shirt. Am I right ladies... and certain gentlemen?

Needless to say, ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ has a lot of pressure on it.

So here’s what we know: ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ is a sequel, but not just any sequel, the third in a series and 12 years in the making. It will undoubtedly suck, but will we care? Absolutely not. This is our Bridget we’re talking about. You can talk about a bad script, poor casting or sketchy editing all you want, that’s not why we watch it. We watch so we can laugh, swoon and tell each other “Better her than me”, while secretly knowing it is exactly you. So good luck Bridget. Knock em dead Renée. Do it for every woman over 30. Every woman who’s put on a pair of granny panties. Every woman who’s thought they weren’t good enough, pretty enough or thin enough for a man. But most importantly, do it for yourself, because you deserve it.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 15/09/2016
RUN TIME: 2h 3m
CAST: Renee Zellweger
Colin Firth
Patrick Dempsey
Jim Broadbent
Emma Thompson
DIRECTOR: Sharon Maguire
WRITERS: Emma Thompson
Helen Fielding
Dan Mazer
PRODUCERS: Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Debra Hayward
Jane Robertson
SCORE: Craig Armstrong
www.bridgetjonesbaby.com.au
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