Thursday, June 2, 2011

Baby Mama

Directed by Michael McCullers.
2008. Rated PG-13, 99 minutes.
Tina Fey
Amy Poehler
Sigourney Weaver
Greg Kinnear
Dax Shepard
Romany Malco
Steve Martin

Kate (Fey) hears her biological clock ticking in IMAX quality surround sound. She’s a successful career woman, but at 37, she wants very badly to have a baby. With no man in her life, she tries artificial insemination. After a number of failed attempts she goes through a very special agency that hires Angie (Poehler) to be her surrogate. To say they are different is quite an understatement. Kate is focused and goal-oriented. She’s been steadily climbing the ladder in corporate America. Angie seems to have been, or will be, a guest on “Jerry Springer.” Despite the obvious contrast, Kate is undeterred when she meets Angie and her common-law husband Carl (Shepard).

Their differences between the ladies are supposed to make them a funny pair. It doesn’t. There are moments here and there that are mildly amusing. However, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen most of them. The ones you haven’t involve Malco as the doorman. Still, there’s only a few of those. He also doubles as Angie’s conscience. Then there’s the running joke about the lady who runs the agency. Played by Sigourney Weaver, the joke is that even though she’s up in age she is pregnant while Kate cannot get that way.

What’s left is the story. Surprisingly, it holds up better than the humor. The twists are effective, throwing the plot in new directions. It adds enough layers to keep things somewhat interesting. Of course, there’s the prerequisite love story. This one is between Kate and Rob (Kinnear). Yes, it includes the expected ups and downs and once a certain thing happens in another part of the story, we can predict what the outcome here will be. Still, all of this is more intriguing than any part of it that tries to make us laugh.

All told, Baby Mama is a light-hearted take on what could be a gravely serious subject. It completely skirts any discussion of ethics, instead using its topic as a springboard for its punchlines. It approaches the class difference between Kate and Angie in the same manner. The movie has its moments, but feels flat in too many places. It isn’t a terrible watch, but it is highly forgettable.

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