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Bridget Jones's Baby: A Surprisingly Pleasant Return for Everyone's Favourite Singleton
It's been 12 years since we last checked in with the dizzy British media executive, Bridget Jones, who ever since her very first onscreen appearance has won over the hearts of many. Though the third film in the franchise has been met with a lukewarm reception, her return sees her face her biggest challenge yet – an unexpected pregnancy - in the funny and delightfully entertaining, Bridget Jones' Baby.
The story catches up with the now forty-three-year-old, Bridget (Zellweger), who has broken off her engagement with longtime love Mark Darcy (Firth) some years before and is now working as a TV producer. Whilst most of her friends are busy having babies, Bridget is determined to embrace her single-status, joining pal Miranda (Solemani) to a music festival where she first meets a handsome online dating businessman, Jack (Dempsey).
Taken by the beautiful stranger, Bridget decides to enjoy a one-night stand with Jack before fleeing the next morning. It's not long before she bumps into Mark at a party and after having learned that he is once again single, she jumps at a chance to spend a night with her ex. A couple of months later, Bridget finds herself pregnant and unsure who the father is.
The story, scripted by Helen Fielding herself along with Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson, is the third, and probably safe to assume final, instalment in the Bridget Jones film series which comes to us twelve years after a sequel that didn't receive as much love as the original. Considering that there's quite a gap between the two releases, the movie benefits from having Sharon Maguire on board – she directed the first film – who ensures that Bridget Jones vibe is still very much present throughout.
The problems are bigger this time around, though, and the story follows a now much-aged but, not entirely matured, Bridget fighting her way through life as a singleton who is still struggling to find love. The writing is raunchier this time around and while the more dramatic beats are handled superbly, the comedy – which relies a little too much on sight gags and physical humour – is at times a little tiring.
Both Dempsey and Firth are reliable in their roles as the two men fighting for the affection of Bridget and it's easy to see why she would be torn between two men who she can see herself with. Equally superb is Thompson who plays Bridget's gynaecologist, though the empty hole left by the absence of one Daniel Cleaver is felt throughout.
Funny, touching and a must-see for any true Bridget Jones fan, this is a fine addition to the trilogy and whilst not everything works, there is still plenty there to connect to.
What can you say about the seemingly unstoppable force that is Nicolas Cage that hasn’t been said before? A magnet for the most troubled, muddled and just generally exasperating films to hit cinemas in the last five years, his latest work in USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage does nothing to change his fortunes.
Despite being based on one a true story that has all the makings of a war epic, the Mario Van Peebles-directed USS Indianapolis bleeds all and any gravitas and emotion out of its incredibly dramatic source material.
The story goes as thus: the eponymous US Navy cruiser delivered the first parts of the atomic bomb that would go on to devastate Hiroshima, before being torpedoed by the Japanese navy, leaving some 300 of the 1000-plus crewmen dead and the rest stranded in shark-infested waters. Said sharks, along with dehydration and salt water poisoning, leave just over 300 survivors to be rescued.
At the centre of the ensuing hubbub is Cage’s Captain McVay, who many, very unreasonably, blame for the death of the 700 or so victims – so you see, it’s a very complex story, but one that very quickly descend into and exercise on how not to make a war film.
The occasional laughable CGI aside, Cage is oddly sedate, bordering on placid, in his role – yes, the central character is possibly the flattest element of the film, while seasoned actors, Tom Sizemore and Thomas Jane, are given little to chew on in their respective roles.
While starting exactly as one would expect a war film to, the wreckage part of the film turns into cheap disaster movie, before turning into a courtroom drama in the final act. It’s a muddle of a film that fails to really drum to the beat of McVay’s potentially brilliant arc as a firm commander that eventually buckles under the unjust pressure he receives back at home.
Bad CGI, a mammoth two hour-plus running time and Nic Cage can be forgiven, but what’s at the heart of this film’s mess is the script. Jumping from event to event, plotline to plotline, at a whim, with Cage’s soft murmured speech used to pave over the transitions, USS Indianapolis’s pacing is that of a film hurrying to stuff as many ideas and threads as possible – expect that’s not the case. Van Peebles tries so hard to build the layers of an epic, when, actually, all he needed to do was tell this simple but stirring story as it is.
Ludicrous, crass but also undeniably fun,Ted 2 - the sequel to Seth MacFarlane’s successful 2012 comedy, Ted –proves to be a more consistent and better drawn-out affair than its predecessor, even if the jokes – which there never seems to be a shortage of– don’t always land where they’re supposed to.
Picking up shortly after the events of the first film, Ted 2 is once again centred on best-buds and avid stoners, John Bennett (Wahlberg) and his talking teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) who, as it turns out, don’t seem to be living out their happily-ever-afters with the women in their lives. See, John has divorced the love-of-his-life, Lori (Kunis), and Ted, who at the beginning of the film shares his “I Do’s” with his human-bride, Tami-Lynn (Barth), is in constant clashes with his new wife.
Deciding that the best way to reconcile and put an end to all the bickering is to start a family, Ted reaches out to his best-friend for help; a decision which soon proves rather messy. However, Ted’s civil rights are soon called in to question by the government who wish to brand Ted as property as oppose to a living thing, leaving John and Ted with no choice but to turn to the rookie – and pot-loving- lawyer, Samantha (Seyfried) for some legal help in an attempt to prove that Ted is a living being with rights of his own. Hence the tagline ‘Legalise Ted’.
Endless pop-culture references and MacFarlane’s distinct brand of abstract toilet humour is once again the integral part of the story. While the first film lent most of its focus on Wahlberg and his romance with Mila Kunis – the actress was written out of the script due to her pregnancy with husband Ashton Kutcher – Ted 2 shifts the focus onto the talking teddy and his battle to be recognised, essentially, as a human.
The decision to shift proves to be a smart move, although the film does tend to take itself a little too seriously at times; in addition, Wahlberg – whose deadpan delivery is almost always spot on – seems to shine more in his secondary role.
Ted 2 is neither ambitious nor smart and its jokes are often offensive and pretty vulgar. Nevertheless, it’s a fun goofy kind of vulgarity that will ensure more box office success and probably even a third film.