Bridget Jones’s Baby (Review)

Directed by Sharon Maguire, UK, 2016

Sequels with large time gaps between them have not fared well recently.  Sure, reboots are all the rage these days, but a sequel to films that came out fifteen and twelve years ago respectively (Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004))?  This seems like a particularly risky proposition, especially when one of the lead actors has been absent from the scene for the better part of a decade.

Like the title character of the series, despite all of these obvious problems with the history of long hiatus sequels and actors, Bridget Jones’s Baby actually works out pretty well.  In some respects, it’s a better movie than the first Bridget Jones movie. Don’t get me wrong, Bridget Jones’s Diary is still the funnier movie, but it sometimes over-relied on funny set pieces to develop its stories and characters.

The first movie takes place over the course of a year and a half and jumps around between several different sub plots with no central narrative thrust.  The hilarious set pieces keep the movie together, and its humor, along with the performances of Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth (who plays Mark Darcy), are the reasons why it remains a modern classic.

The third movie has its share of humor, it also has a condensed timeline that works in its favor.  While there is a subplot focused on Bridget’s career, it is exists mainly to support the main narrative thrust of the story.  Otherwise, the script focuses the audience’s attention on Bridget and Mark, whose relationship is the central one in the film series, and on Bridget and Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey), whose relationship represents a potential new path for Bridget.

Overall, if you liked Bridget Jones’s Diary, you’ll like Bridget Jones’s Baby.  If not, well, there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out just around the corner.

You might like Bridget Jones’s Baby if: You enjoyed Bridget Jones’s Diary and are looking for a well written, funny romantic comedy that continues the story in a satisfying manner.

You might not like Bridget Jones’s Baby if: You’re kind of over Bridget at this point.

(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Review)

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, UK, 2015

It’s pretty rare these days to see a good popcorn movie released in February.  Usually late winter is home to Oscar nominees and garbage.  Not just any garbage either, but the kind of garbage that was filmed three years ago and might just be starring Channing Tatum as a wolfman or some crap.

Kingsman certainly isn’t a garbage disposal movie, nor is it an awards season darling.  Instead it is the type of movie we usually see inhabit the multiplex in June or July.  Based on a comic book? Check! Filled with highly stylized violence? And how! Starring popular actors? That too!

Like its summer movie kin, Kingsman is a lot of fun.  Although its basic story has been done countless times before (new kid (Taron Egerton) is recruited into covert organization by world-weary mentor (Colin Firth), goes through training, fights super-villain (Samuel L. Jackson)), it’s done so full speed ahead.  It knows it has a cliched, ridiculous plot, it knows that it doesn’t make a lick of sense, and it’s absolutely okay with that.

The only word of caution I have about Kingsman is that it is exceptionally violent – more Tarantino movie than Marvel Comics movie.  This can be jarring at times since its unexpectedly graphic for a film that succeeds as a tongue-in-cheek homage to old-school spy movies and new-school comic book movies.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

You might like Kingsman: The Secret Service if: You’re craving a fun popcorn flick and you can’t wait until May.

You might not like Kingsman: The Secret Service if: Pulp Fiction made you nauseous.

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe