BABY MAMA (2008)
Starring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sigourney Weaver, Greg Kinnear, Romany Malco, Dax Shepard, Maura Tierney, Steve Martin, Holland Taylor, Dennis Albanese, Curt Carlson, Will Forte, Tom McCarthy and Fred Armisen.
Screenplay by Michael McCullers.
Directed by Michael McCullers.
Distributed by Universal Pictures. 96 minutes. Rated PG-13.
I guess it was just a natural progression that when Hollywood realized that the wedding movie was like catnip to women, the baby movie was not far behind.
Funny thing is, despite the fact that as a man the idea of a baby movie sounds as appealing as going to a baby shower, most of the recent wave of baby films have actually been not bad at all. Knocked Up was a little overrated, but mostly enjoyable. Juno was just wonderful.
Now comes Baby Mama, which is far from perfect but still an above-average comedy.
Of course, Baby Mama has a secret weapon – Tina Fey – who is quickly becoming the go-to woman for Hollywood comedy. Of course, it seems a bit of a waste to hire a brilliant comic mind like Fey simply as an actress and not take advantage of her writing skills – as have been on ripe display in Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls and 30 Rock. However, Fey is able to make the role much more interesting and likable than it has any right to be (and I’d be shocked if she and fellow SNL castmate Poehler didn’t do some heavy improv here).
Poehler is very funny, too; however, her character is more of a broad cliché. An extremely well-done broad cliché much of the time, but it doesn’t quite make the connection that Fey does. We don’t believe in her character, so we don’t care as much about her.
Fey plays Kate – a Philadelphia-based business exec for a large natural food store chain, who has become a vice president in her late 30s. After working for years to break through the glass ceiling of business, she suddenly is overwhelmed by the ticking of the biological clock.
Since she has no men in her life, she has a condition with her uterus which makes getting pregnant unlikely and she works a busy professional schedule, she ends up looking into a new company which is setting up women with surrogate mothers.
At first she hates the idea, but the smooth-talking head of the company (Sigourney Weaver) convinces her that it is the perfect solution. Through the firm she is introduced to Angie (Poehler), a white-trash blonde who is a self confessed baby machine. Angie’s boyfriend (Dax Shepard) is a self-centered con-man and when Angie breaks up with him, she moves into Kate’s immaculate condo. But is she really going to give Kate the baby, or is it all a scam?
In the meantime, Kate’s life starts coming together, she is given more power from her odd new age boss (Steve Martin) and becomes attracted to a local owner of a juice bar (Greg Kinnear.)
The roles seem a little familiar – Kate is a close cousin to Fey’s 30 Rock character of Liz Lemon and Angie is similar to some characters Poehler has done on Saturday Night Live. However, familiar or not, they are mostly funny – mostly because the actresses are so effortlessly likable.
The surrounding stuff is not quite so good. Weaver and Martin are giving their all, but their characters are just a bit too quirky for their own good. Kinnear, on the other hand, is sort of wasted in a completely generic boyfriend role.
Baby Mama occasionally gets too sappy for its own good and the humor can be overly broad, but all things considered it is time well spent.
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 5, 2008.