The first trailer for Bridget Jones' Baby was released today, and I'm feeling very ambivalent about it. (Will have a wee glass of wine and reassess... Okay, boss has knickers in wad and advises no alc in workplace, espec before noon. No problem, will write sober — am watching calories anyhow. Back to biz.)
The first thing any Bridget fan will notice is that, unlike its predecessors, this new film deviates substantially from the third novel by Helen Fielding, the author of the series upon which the movies are based. In 2013's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, we join our literary heroine 18 years after the end of The Edge Of Reason. Human rights attorney husband Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth in the film) died five years prior in a land-mine accident in Sudan.
But in the Bridget Jones' Baby trailer, Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth) is alive and well, and Bridget is his ex instead of his widow; I'm guessing the filmmakers figured out pretty fast that a dearth of Firth on the big screen would not play well with audiences. Along with Firth and Renée Zellweger (marking her return to the big screen in her first major role since 2008's Leatherheads, yay!), we've got the addition of Patrick Dempsey as Bridget's very good-looking new love interest, Jack Qwant. And, obviously, we've got Bridget's (unborn) baby on board.
So here's why I'm apprehensive about the whole thing. After over-analyzing and injecting way too much meaning into a two-minute trailer, I can't help but wonder: Is this the same Bridget we know and love? The blabbering, bumbling, often frumpy, perpetually single, and painfully self-conscious Ms. Jones? The new Bridget's got a "top job." While we do see Bridget in sweats and a pony at home on the couch, her appearance has definitely gotten a good polishing. No muffin-tops or ill-fitting Christmas sweaters to be seen here — Bridget has lost a good amount of weight and upgraded her wardrobe. In other words, she looks less like the average woman and more like the prototypical rom-com heroine.
She's also got a Prince Charming, played by McDreamy himself, pursuing her. (It's not clear whether Darcy is still romantically interested.) And while Bridget has a baby on the way without knowing for sure who the dad is, she's got two handsome, seemingly stand-up guys vying for the father title. (Albeit unbeknownst to them — we see both Darcy and Jack separately accompany Bridget to the ob-gyn for an ultrasound while she pretends to be finding out for the first time with each of them.)
A great job, a makeover, a friendly ex, and a beautiful new man in her life? Bridget Jones, is that you? If Bridget grows up and gets her shit together, is she still ours? Well, here's the truth: Fuck yeah it is! It's natural to feel protective of the fantastically flawed character we've gotten to know, the one who eats too much cake and says cringe-worthy things on the regular. Bridget Jones is special because she speaks to the insecure girl in us instead of embodying the perfect Hollywood babe we're so used to seeing in rom-coms. And, yes, I was weary of her becoming too perfect. Too successful. Too refined. But that's just as limiting, isn't it? Presuming a female character can only become so ideal before she's not herself anymore? No, Bridget is allowed to grow and improve and work her way up the ladder at work while maintaining a romantic life — to not be a total wreck, in short. In fact, I'm feeling very silly for being such a negative worry-wort in the first place. Off to wander office looking for teensy bit of chocolate and confess insecurities in diary.