• by Wes Singleton

Bridget Jones's Baby, B-

Rated R, 123 minutes

Is it Darcy or McDreamy? That's the basic premise of the latest Bridget Jones installment, "Bridget Jones's' Baby" that's predictable and overlong but still charming and goofy. Now aged 43, Bridget Jones (Oscar-winner Renee Zellweger) is struggling with the trials of life, not the least of which is her breakup with her love Mark Darcy (Oscar-winner Colin Firth, looking slightly annoyed). Pushing forward and working to find fulfillment in other aspects of her life, her love life is resuscitated when she meets a dashing and handsome American named Jack (Patrick Dempsey). She has consecutive one-night stands with both men around the same time, and all is OK until she becomes pregnant and must determine who the father is. The likable new comedy "Bridget Jones's Baby" captures more of the winsome spirit of the original 2001 "Bridget Jones's Diary" than the 2004 misfire "Edge of Reason" did, in part of due to better writing and the fact that the original's director, Sharon Maguire, returns for this outing too. As the lovely (and now slimmed down) perennial singleton, Zellweger is just fine as Bridget, but as her suitors, both Dempsey and Firth steal a few funny scenes too, as does fellow Oscar-winner (and the script's co-author), Emma Thompson, as her doctor. The predictable twists and turns it takes will surprise few, and I wish the writers had opted for a more realistic view of having Bridget adopt instead of having the baby herself (not to mention she's 43, and still keeps a diary), but then some of the hijinks at the end would not have been possible, and admittedly you will laugh at some of them. Given that it runs a solid 2 hours, a comedy such as this feels more stretched than Bridget's pregnant tummy, particularly when it comes to the many, unnecessary work scenes. Without giving too much away, if you wonder if Darcy and Bridget will get together, let's just say they're the British version of Ross and Rachel, and they might keep you guessing until the end. The most clever thing about "Bridget Jones's Baby" is who isn't there: original cast member Hugh Grant, though the fun ending leaves it open for a possible return in the next outing that's called - as Bridget, after having kids and facing a harsh mid-life crisis - "Bridget Jones's' Tummy Tuck." Pulls few surprises, but you'll still have a good time and watch for the fun Ed Sheeran cameo near the beginning.

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