Bridget Jones' return isn't cause for celebration - it proves a sad fact about modern British cinema, says Alex Davies

Bridget Jones' return isn't cause for celebration - it proves a sad fact about modern British cinema, says Alex Davies

WATCH HERE: Renee Zelwegger looks back at Bridget Jones during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 12/04/2024

- 12:14

Updated: 12/04/2024

- 12:19

Zellweger's return as one of rom-com's most-famous figures will not only fail in today's PC era, it proves fresh ideas are now a rarity, says GB News' Digital Entertainment Editor

Rom-com fans had reason to rejoice this week after it was confirmed Renee Zellweger would be donning her British accent once again as the down-in-her-luck, baggy-underwear-wearing, chain-smoking Bridget Jones.

Well, that is if you're a rom-com fan of an age where any slightly off-colour quip in the script won't leave you foaming at the mouth and calling for the Oscar winner to be cancelled.

Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy reintroduces Bridget to cinemagoers almost two and a half decades after the first movie's release.

It's based on the third book in Helen Fielding's series and picks up four years after Mark Darcy's death - that's right, Mr Firth won't be taking centre stage in the upcoming flick.

But Hugh Grant will - sigh - as he reunites with Zellweger as the dastardly heart-throb Daniel Cleaver alongside a crop of new cast mates and a returning Emma Thompson.

The first few instalments in the franchise were everything the early Noughties rom-com genre needed: a rollercoaster love triangle worth investing in, a trio of attractive yet not airbrushed leading stars, hilarious supporting characters and a soundtrack that included toe-tappers such as Gabrielle's Out of Reach.

Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones will return without Colin Firth


But heading towards Mad About the Boy's release in 2025, it appears the list of factors that resulted in Bridget having her own allocated slot on my DVD shelf isn't actually a list of qualities.

Instead, today it's rather a list of reasons as to why if Daniel Cleaver existed in real life he'd be cancelled to within an inch of his life and forced to spend his life being hounded off social media every time he tried to share a photo of his breakfast.

As soon as the new movie was confirmed, social media became awash with Gen Z vowing to "boycott" cinemas for giving new life to a film series deemed "fatphobic", "misogynistic", "racist" and all manner of buzzwords that give virtue signallers the boost of serotonin they crave from writing words on a screen.

This won't stop Mad About the Boy from hitting screens, but it will mean one thing: it won't be able to hold its own compared to its predecessors.

Renee Zellweger

Renee Zellweger will reprise the lead role


Daniel Cleaver is now perceived as a sexually harassing deviant, Bridget needs to be wrapped in cotton wool on the off-chance she faces a comment about her appearance, and her mother's bigoted views need to be taken as an indictment of the filmmakers' true views - not be seen as character tool to show just how out-of-touch the character is.

Every single role in the Bridget Jones universe will be sanitised so much that it'll be surprising to see if Zellweger is allowed to puff on a Mayfair for the fear of offending teens who are busy sucking tutti-frutti vapour into their lungs.

And yet film bosses won't be deterred from making it and it will still undoubtedly prove a financial success as it rides on the coattails of its 2001 debut.

This here lies the problem: rather than come up with a new idea to revive a rom-com genre in dire need of it, creatives would rather rehash a classic from an un-PC era and make it as vanilla and anodyne as possible.

It's not a new trend, there are countless examples where reboots and revivals to appease the offended masses have hit screens - just look at Disney's retelling of its decades-old tales.

I don't know if it's because I'm a fan of the films themselves, but bringing Bridget back to a time of Matcha lattes and avocados on sourdough just doesn't feel needed.

Bridget Jones and Daniel Cleaver

Biridget Jones and Daniel Cleaver will reunite


The new-look Bridget won't make the rom-com genre a classic again once it's watered down and it'll merely irk those who are old enough to have bought the VHS of the first film.

All it will do is prove Zellweger's return as one of rom-com's most famous figures will fail in today's PC era and re-emphasise the point that fresh ideas in today's landscape are now a rarity.

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