04 June 2008

Film: "Baby Mama"

Baby Mama
Written and Directed by Michael McCullers
Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear, Dax Shephard, Romany Malco, Maura Tierney, Holland Taylor and Sigourney Weaver
Theatrical Release Date: 25 April 2008

Date of Screening: 3 June 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Crude and Sexual Humor, Language and a Drug Reference)

Baby Mama sold itself as a Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy, and that it delivered.  Fey's Kate is sweet, but driven by the loud ticking of her biological clock; Poehler's Ann is an ignorant redneck hired by her as a surrogate mother.  In published interviews, the two admitted they made the film more or less as an excuse to work together and selected fertility issues as their plot point because they felt a lot of women out there had dealt with it and could use something funny.The cast is good, including Greg Kinnear and Steve Martin.  Martin's role as Fey's uber-hippie boss is different for him, and yet it too quickly calls to mind another Saturday Night Live alumnus (Kevin Nealon in Grandma's Boy).  

I generally avoid spoilers in movie reviews, but there are some serious questions raised by the final act of Baby Mama.  After sitting in a court room to find out that Ann's pregnant by her redneck, scamming ex-common-law-husband Carl instead of her sperm donor, it is entirely too unbelievable that Kate--or anyone else--would offer to drive Ann to the hospital when her water breaks outside the courtroom.  And for her to find out, upon being revived from passing out during Ann's delivery that she has, herself, become pregnant while trysting with Kinnear, is not only too convenient, but it suggests that neither Fey nor Poehler were particularly considerate of the very audience for whom they said they made the film in the first place.  What message is there for the numerous women who are going through what Kate went through at the beginning of the film?  That by the end of your movie you'll get your happy ending?

Clearly, Baby Mama could have used another draft by writer/director McCullers.  The humor was there, and the set-up was interesting.  Unfortunately, like too many recent movies (coughIndianaJonescough), no matter how much fun it may have been in the middle, it's the third act that makes or breaks a film, and Baby Mama's third act is too...many things, really, from contrived to insulting...to make it as rewarding as it might otherwise have been.

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