A few months
ago, my wife complained that I didn't review enough
movies that she'd like to eventually watch.
"What? You don't like 'Transformers' or 'Mr. Bean's Holiday?'" I asked with an innocent smile.
"No. More like girl movies."
"Like one of those Jane Austen movies where actors dress in stuffy clothes and talk like they're in a Woody Allen movie with British accents?" I asked.
"No. Romantic movies. Chick flicks. Movies that are funny, but for girls," she said.
A few months had passed and I thought I'd hit the jackpot with "Baby Mama," now on DVD and Blu-ray. This is a review of the DVD.
Normally I review all of the movies I get on my doorstep from the mailman. While I was gone for the day, my wife got her hands on "Baby Mama" and watched it before I did. It wasn't like I was in a rush to see it, so I figured I'd get her opinion on it.
"It's bad," she said.
"Bad? Like good 'bad,' or 'bad-bad?'"
It couldn't have been that bad. My wife is far more forgiving when it comes to movies. She's not nearly as picky as me. She also likes movies on Lifetime and WE, crying and moping around the house after watching the modern day equivalent of "Disease of the Week" movies. I like high-quality classic movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Lethal Weapon." Our taste in film diverges. So how could a multimillion dollar feature comedy from the genius writer of the "Austin Powers" movies, and the comedy talent of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, be so bad?
I watched it with an open mind and didn't find it to be as bad as my wife did. After all, I'm the movie critic on this site and in our house. So, in essence, mine is the final word when it comes to DVD reviews. Would my wife's opinion matter in this review?
Fey plays a successful business woman in her late-30s who wants to have a baby. She can't have a baby because, well, she can't. She's also not married or has somebody waiting in the bullpen. She finds an expensive surrogate mother agency that could fit the bill. In the process she meets Poehler and her wacky Gen-X slacker husband, played by Dax Shepard. Fey is the uptight, anal retentive ladder climber with a heart-of-gold when it comes to wanting a child. Poehler is the trailer trash girl trying to change her life around.
The movie suffers on numerous levels, but I wouldn't say it's a bad movie. Unfunny. Predictable. Occasionally sappy. The cast is good, though the material doesn't give them much to work with. Considering the amount of talent involved with the movie, you'd think it would be a lot funnier. But it's not. The movie actually plods along at a slow pace, and it's easy to figure out what's coming up around the corner. I didn't care what happened to any of the characters.
Fey is good in the role of a successful person who wants more in life than just money and easy job promotions (promotions are always easy in these kind of movies). I haven't watched "Saturday Night Live" in years, nor have I watched "30 Rock" because I don't like Alec Baldwin. So I've never seen the "comedy genius" of Fey. If she's funny, she doesn't show it here. I've caught Poehler in clips from "SNL" and didn't find her to be all that funny. But she's good in her role here and show some range. Greg Kinnear plays pretty much Greg Kinnear. He's a perfectly good actor, though he doesn't seem to stretch out his roles too much. Dax Shepard plays the slacker hubby. He's not as annoying as I thought he might be.
"Baby Mama" feels like a mom/baby movie I've seen before. There's a "Baby Boom/Three Men and a Baby" vibe to the whole affair. How many times must we endure the mom having a baby and going crazy on everyone in the hospital scene? I'm sure some people might find it funny. I didn't, nor did my wife (who didn't curse me out when she was delivering our daughter).
The movie might've been more interesting, and I'm going out on a limb, if the story focused on Amy Poehler's character. She's really the character in the whole movie who has a good story arc (that's a scriptwriting 101 term for ya). I didn't care what the heck happened to Fey in her quest for a baby. All I really noticed was those glasses of hers and the fact she does a lot of walking through the movie.
The movie is decent enough, I suppose, for a late night viewing once you've exhausted your other movie rentals. Or it's one of the movies you'd see on a long plane flight. So hon, I got a movie to review for you in "Baby Mama." You didn't like it, and I only liked it a bit more than you did. Next time, I'm reviewing a movie I want to watch.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
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