Sharon Maguire's 2001 comedy "Bridget Jones's Diary" was never a favorite of mine. It's only great facet was the fact the American Actress Renee Zellweger was able to hold her British accent throughout the film; a feat that earned her an Oscar nomination.


Domestically, it earned $71 million against a production budget of $25 million. That was noteworthy. However, it earned a booming $210 million on the foreign market resulting in a $281 million profit... and the right to get a sequel. The sequel, "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" which was horrid. Yet, for some reason it earned a robust $62 million on the global market including $40 in the U.S.


The second was an inane story, poorly directed by Beeban Kidron ("To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar") who typically stuck with the television market. She has since returned to television productions and stayed away from the big screen. The reason it made so much money was because Europeans love Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones and Celie Imri - the strong support cast that makes Zellweger look good. Oh, and they seem to like her as well.

Renee took some time off to try to undo a plastic surgery procedure that disfigured her face; she has been idle since 2010 as she tried to cope with her "new" look. What better way to come back that to the franchise that has treated her so well, surrounded by a cast with whom she is so familiar. Well a cast that is light Hugh Grant who bailed to make "Florence Foster Jenkins" with Meryl Streep.


Sharon Maguire returns to direct and the film picks up fifteen years after the second, which helps with the aging Zellweger, with Bridget trying to deal with the fact that she is a spinster - alone with no one. Mr Darcy (Colin Firth) has married and moved on as has her other beau Cleaver. Her friend Shazzer (Sally Phillips) is trying to get her to get back out there and enjoy life. The solution is to attending a glamping concert where Bridget meets a guy named Jack (Patrick Dempsey) who is a self made billionaire running a Matchmaker type website. They make hey and go their separate ways.


When Bridget and friends get the sad news that Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) has gone missing in a private plane and is presumed dead, they attend the funeral where, among all the women Cleaver shagged, is Darcy. They inevitably hook up when he informs her that his wife has left him, which leads to a problem a few weeks later when she learns she is preggers.


Momma's baby, pappa's maybe. One of the oldest issues known to man.

Bridget must now try to find out who is the daddy without telling them that she doesn't know who the daddy is. True, all she has to do is confess, but then, the film would only be 40-minutes long and certainly not worth the price of admission - regardless of the notable cast.


But the real dilemma becomes, who does Bridget really want the father to be? Both men are respected and respectable. Both are well healed though, obviously billionaire has a better ring to it than barrister. Their personalities are night and day with Darcy holding fast to his conservative ways.


Bridget's dad (Broadbent) adds his words of wisdom while her mother (Gemma Jones) is busy running for political office. Her new boss (Sarah Solemani) is only interested in reaching the desensitized millennials an is growing tired of Bridget's whacky ways. All of this might make a somewhat compelling though often treated subject, but it generally falls flat.


None of the characters presents a challenge of any sort to the cast. This is old hat, which in many cases is okay. However, this hat is so old it's flat and lifeless. The one truly bright spot in the cast is the always reliable Emma Thompson as Bridget's wise cracking OBGyn, Dr Rawlings. Her timing is impeccable and quips are perfectly delivered.


That isn't to say there are a few moments of humor, every now and then, it's just that the story is so old it doesn't really matter.


"Bridget Jones's Diary" is barely passable and probably should have gone straight to DVD/VOD. But this isn't a film for American's, this is strictly to squeeze more money from the European market, which is home to the franchises largest fanbase.   -- GEOFF BURTON