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COLIN FIRTH and RENÉE ZELLWEGER who reprise their roles in the next chapter of the world’s favorite singleton are joined by PATRICK DEMPSEY in “Bridget Jones’s Baby.”
Giles Keyte—Universal

It’s been 12 years since we last saw Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones, instructing Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy to please propose after two movies’ worth of indecision. When she returns in Bridget Jones’s Baby, the third chapter in the film franchise, our heroine is 43, single again and facing a new predicament: she’s unexpectedly pregnant and unsure whether the miracle fertilization of her “hard-boiled” ova resulted from a fling with an American tech mogul (Patrick Dempsey) or one with her now ex Darcy.

The new movie departs from Helen Fielding’s novels, which inspired the first two films. Rather than adapting her third book, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy–featuring a 51-year-old widowed Bridget–Fielding and her co-writers set the movie a decade earlier. Despite a long gestation and the withdrawal of Hugh Grant–whose appealing cad Daniel Cleaver was the yin to Darcy’s yang–Baby turns out to be a triumph of daffy charm.

It works because Bridget is the same lovable goof she’s always been: a fallible normal who defies the unrealistic expectations thrust upon modern women. Here, this extends to the fraught realm of labor and delivery. (Drugs? Please. New-age breathing techniques? No thanks.) For anyone who’s worn the wrong underwear for the occasion or mispronounced the name of a remote nation, Bridget is our savior in unpolished armor. We like her, as Darcy always has, just as she is.


This appears in the September 26, 2016 issue of TIME.

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