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terça-feira, 20 de setembro de 2016
Bridget Jones's Baby review - Renée Zellweger kooks up a storm
It’s been a rocky road into middle age for the shambolic, cripplingly body-conscious and serially unattached Bridget Jones. Or rather, two roads. A bit like Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors, only with a diet regime that's taken considerably longer to pay off, Bridget's entire life journey has bifurcated drastically before our eyes.
If you’re going by Helen Fielding’s books – the third of which, Mad About the Boy, was published back in 2013 – Bridget’s now a widow with two small children, following the death of her shining-armoured suitor Mark Darcy in a car accident. She’s dating a 29-year-old called Roxster and browsing lonelyhearts sites on the internet.
Colin Firth's hesitation over doing Bridget Jones's BabyPlay!02:48
Absolutely none of this is true of the Bridget we meet in Bridget Jones’s Baby – a forking path so wildly different you get the sense everyone at Working Title took one look at that book and flung it in the recycling. Those involved with this long-debated rewrite include, obligingly enough, Fielding herself, along with Borat screenwriter Dan Mazer and none other than Emma Thompson, who gets a never-more-clipped cameo as the nonplussed doctor verifying that, yep, Bridget has got herself up the duff.
What else has changed? For starters, Mark – that would be Colin Firth, resuming through clenched teeth his default task of playing Colin Firth – is still alive, though their relationship has fizzled out and left Bridget single all over again. It’s his caddish rival Daniel Cleaver who gets a funeral as the film begins, an authorial rethink mainly dictated by Hugh Grant’s point-blank refusal to be in it.
Stepping into that breach is Patrick Dempsey, as the enigmatic Yank whose tent Bridget fatefully mistakes for her own at a music festival, giving him a roughly 50/50 chance – the other’s Mark – of being her babyfather.
Fielding was hardly the first writer to mine being unmarried, female, and in your thirties for empathetic laughs, but Bridget’s endless mortification struck an undeniable chord back in the day. One of the pleasures of this long-deferred catch-up is how her underdog status now matches its leading lady’s: perhaps it's Renee Zellweger’s fading star power in the intervening years that makes us root for her afresh. Or perhaps it’s the reassuring return of her original director, Sharon Maguire.
Either way: phew. Kooking up a facial storm right from the legitimately hilarious opening credits, Zellweger feels back in charge of the character again, and even her excesses are easily indulged, after the tonally hideous detour of 2004’s The Edge of Reason. Nothing here, thank everything that’s holy, is as misjudged as that film’s excruciating singalong in a Thai jail. There’s especially bright fun to be had with Sarah Solemani, playing the anchorwoman of a TV news show Bridget keeps accidentally sabotaging in a producing capacity. These scenes pop plentifully.
If you were going to carp, you might accuse the movie of getting wheezy in the third trimester. The who’s-the-daddy plotting only gives Firth and Dempsey stray moments you could really call funny: they'reboth playing straight man to the daffy heroine, which doubles the number of notionally romantic scenes without upping the comedy.
Meanwhile, the idea of this trio forming a polyamorous unit is the kind of briefly progressive conceit you just know is going to be thrown over for a straight-choice finale. They supposedly shot three endings, and while Thompson helps matters by saving herself a slam-dunk of a laugh for the delivery room, this only just gets the film across the finish line. It's a comeback you root for, then, even while it’s wobbling and occasionally falling in the mud. But goodwill gets it home.