Although much of the media attention has been about whether or not star Renée Zellweger has had cosmetic surgery, it is a question some people may also be asking about the movie itself.

After all, it’s been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones film, so will the third installment be a winning return to the feel-good charms of the original, or a crass and embarrassing makeover, in which the makers desperately attempt to woo a younger new audience?

The good news is that Bridget Jones’s Baby leans more towards the former and is certainly a big improvement on the last entry, the bloated retread The Edge of Reason.

The film opens with our loveable heroine (Zellweger) drowning her sorrows as she faces up to her 43rd birthday alone: a quick flashback to the events of the past day reveal that her caddish ex (Hugh Grant) has died in a plane crash, her one true love Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) now appears to be happily married, and her old friends (Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson, etc) are too busy with their own families to come out to celebrate.

However, things take a turn for the better when her new thirtysomething pal Miranda (a scene-stealing turn from Sarah Solemani) whisks her away to the Glastonbury Festival, where she hooks up with a sexy yank (Patrick Dempsey) who turns out to be Jack Qwant, the billionaire owner of a dating website. Before learning his true identity, however, she also ends up back in bed with Mark, who she discovers is in the process of splitting up with his wife. Then things get really complicated when Bridget discovers that she is pregnant and that the father could be either Jack or Mark…

Although a tad overlong, Bridget Jones’s Baby offers a mainly cheery and affectionate trip down memory lane (director Sharon Maguire also helmed the 2001 original). Bridget is certainly older but not a lot wiser and Zellweger slips effortlessly back into the role, while Firth is as wonderfully pompous and stiff-necked as ever as the man she just can’t seem to get out of her head. Hats off, too, for Emma Thompson, who as well being a hoot as Bridget’s no-nonsense doctor, also had a hand (along with Bridget Jones’ creator) in the gag-packed script that keeps the laughs flowing and the sentimentality largely at bay.

In cinemas: September 15, 2016star-3
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey
Directed by: Sharon Maguire