BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (6 out of 10) Directed by Sharon Maguire; Written by Helen Fielding, Emma Thompson and Dan Mazer, Based on the Characters and Story Created by Helen Fielding; Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson; Rated R for "language, sex references and some nudity"; Running time 123 minutes; In wide release September 16 , 2016

Did we really need another Bridget Jones sequel? Apparently, yes! And this film does its best to satisfy its core audience, who will find this as charming and bawdy as the previous two films. But those not familiar and in love with the previous films may feel a bit bewildered-- no doubt, this is how non-geeks react going into the most recent comic book adaptation or sci-fi franchise serial.

But that's a good thing. Every audience -- even niche ones -- deserve to be served their favorite fare. And Bridget Jones fans will eat this up with as much delight as tucking in to a luxuriant pint of premium ice cream. With a side of booze, of course.

Following her break-up with Mr. Darcy (Firth) in Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason, our heroine has continued her career as a news producer. Following an awkward run-in with Darcy, she vows to end her recent patch of unintentional celibacy, resulting in two subsequent hookups with Jack (Patrick Dempsey) and Darcy himself. And... she's pregnant. And it could be either of theirs. And hijinks ensue.

The love triangle trope and question of which of the two she will end up with are familiar territory, especially if you're familiar with the first film. This is one of those nostalgia sequels/reboots, following the footsteps of Star Wars, Star Trek, Rocky, Ghostbusters, and this week's Blair Witchwhose narrative, structure, and characters should feel as familiar and comfortable as an old t-shirt. 

While that's mostly a good thing (and this film certainly spends less time winking at the audience than some of those others), this doesn't tread a lot of new ground. However, an extended cameo by indie folk rocker Ed Sheeran is surprising and refreshing, and Emma Thompson as Bridget Jones's exasperated gynecologist steals almost every scene she's in. (It helps that she co-authored the screenplay.)

This bawdy rom-com has everything you want and expect from one, even if it does slow down quite a bit nearly 2/3 of the way through as it tries to dig the hole deeper so our heroine is the ever-more-heroic for climbing out of it. Its game is strong when it comes to making you root for which man you want to see Jones end up with (and who is the father of her baby? And is that even the same person?). It toys with our emotions as much as it toys with our hero, but it comes to an overall satisfying conclusion.

If you're a fan, you'll love it. Even if you're not, if the premise sounds fun to you, you will probably also have a good time. If you don't. . .  why are you even reading a review of this movie? This wasn't made for you. Move along.

6 out of 10

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