In Which We Naturally Appreciate The Effort

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A Woman On Her Own Time

by DICK CHENEY

Bridget Jones’ Baby
dir. Sharon Maguire
123 minutes

Bridget Jones makes something of a scene at the funeral of her old boss, Daniel Cleaver (an MIA Hugh Grant). Hugh Grant felt he was too good to involve himself in Bridget Jones’ Baby, although it is unclear what he found so unpalatable about the project. There are not so many movies about the plight of a 43 year old single woman, although Renee Zellweger is actually 47.

No one involved with Bridget Jones’ Baby has ever heard of the Bechdel test. Maybe it didn’t make its way to England? All Bridget and her friend talk about is men and how much her life would be better if a penis was everpresent in it, I guess for Bridget to address by name in her diary. I don’t know anyone over the age of 30 who keeps a diary who isn’t a war criminal.

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Bridget falls in some slop and is hauled out by Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey). The real story should be how Patrick Dempsey with his sketchy beard now looks like a member of ISIS. He has lost almost all of his previous appeal, while Renee Zellweger is a perfectly reasonable facsimile of the woman she was twenty years ago. Bridget starts wearing these weird oversized glasses when she goes out with guys, it makes her look like she is cosplaying as a librarian.

It is a wonderful thing to know you can fall in love at any age. Despite being a somewhat high powered news producer by now, Bridget makes a lot of inappropriate jokes still, and a surprising amount of them are about Hitler. When she goes camping at a music festival with her news anchor and friend Miranda (Sarah Solemani), she ends up sleeping with Dempsey after accidentally wandering into his tent. His penis feels like porcelain soldered onto a metal frame.

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Dempsey seems to be doing some kind of weird accent, but it is unclear what exactly he is going for. Bridget gets on top of him within thirty minutes of knowing him. It is nice to be with someone who has a similar frame for all of her historical references, and it turns out that Qwant is some kind of incredibly wealthy inventor of a romantic algorithm. Someone intelligent would be good for her, since Bridget does not even seem to know that the term MILF is incredibly offensive.

Bridget’s other friend Sharon (Sally Phillips) actually has children, and Bridget sort of ignores them most of the time, like they are completely incidental to her experience. She talks about putting Dempsey’s metal cock in her mouth with her friend, only to disguise it from the kids they call the mechanical item a “puppet.” Children in England are very naive at first.

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When Bridget attends a lovely christening, she poses for pictures with Mark (Colin Firth). The photographer instructs Mark “to give her a kiss” — he means the baby Bridget is holding, but Mark completely misunderstands and gives Bridget this super-intimate soft pressing of his lips to the side of her head. At the ensuing party Bridget gets absolutely wasted while wearing plastic wings on her back to make her look like an angel.

Mark’s reaction to Bridget’s behavior is somewhat puzzling. He sees her dancing and feels joy that Bridget is happy, but somewhat serious disappointment that he didn’t consummate the relationship at an earlier time. There is really no context in which “Let’s Get It On” is appropriate at a christening. During a quiet moment at the party, Mark checks the tag on Bridget’s dress, which I did not even know was a move.

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The sexual intercourse that follows sets up the main premise of Bridget Jones’ Baby, which is that Bridget has no idea who the father of her child is, and has no earthly way of finding out. Medical science simply hasn’t advanced that far. The sex itself is brief but romantic, and the only weird part is that it is contrasted with the rest of the party involving small children and how much fun everyone there is also having.

Bridget leaves a note for Mark, like he is expecting that the fuck he just accomplished off this christening was going to lead to marriage. If Colin Firth wanted to be married, rest assured he would be married. “We could come up with a hundred reasons why we never made it,” she writes to Mark, “but I always found that you were never there, and I was mostly alone.”

Bridget tells Jack Qwant that he might be the father of her child in a terrific scene where he looks like he is about to strike her in the face. Bridget Jones’ Baby could seriously have been a far more entertaining movie if it depicted how men actually behave when they are told they are going to be a father. (My own father actually killed a farmhand when he found this out.) Instead it is just mostly awkward, with each man growing to accept and understand his life is about to be completely ruined.

At some point in Bridget’s journey you realize that this entire time — her entire life — she has never actually communicated honestly with any of these men. This brings up about a important question of why she doesn’t ever do that, which I suppose is because she doesn’t trust them. It isn’t an issue that springs from the relationship with her father, Bridget Jones’ Baby makes absolutely clear, so it must simply be the function of the men she enjoys being with. They are the sorts of fellows who would never want to write any of her story — they would prefer she do that on her own time.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

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