Sunday, April 27, 2008

Baby Mama

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Barren Businesswoman Seeks Services of Surrogate Mom in Fish-Out-of-Water Comedy

Despite proudly rising to the rank of Vice President of Development at Round Earth, a growing chain of organic supermarkets, Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) isn’t totally emotionally fulfilled. It’s readily apparent that the 37 year-old workaholic’s successful career has come at a considerable personal cost.
For she now hears her biological clock ticking and is desperate to start a family, although she doesn’t even have a man in her life. To top it all off, she’s just learned from her gynecologist that she only has a one-in-a-million chance of becoming pregnant anyway.
Fearing that she might never have that kid she craves, Kate decides to enlist the assistance of Chaffee Bicknell (Sigourney Weaver), the owner of Philadelphia’s most reputable surrogate mother service. And after receiving adequate assurances that the agency has the perfect candidate lined up, she pays the $100,000 fee to have her fertilized eggs implanted in the womb of Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler).
Then, after receiving word that her supposedly model surrogate is, in fact, pregnant, Kate starts preparing for the impending arrival of her little bundle of joy by reading all the right childcare books and by baby-proofing her apartment. Soon, however, when Angie shows up at the door unannounced needing a place to live, the truth about her begins to emerge.
Turns out that she isn’t happily married as billed, but has just broken up with her slacker boyfriend, Carl (Dax Shepard). Relatively-refined Kate lets Angie move in and belatedly gets to know the gum-snapping, fast-food junkie carrying her infant.
The ensuing yuppie-meets-blue collar tensions which arise provide the bulk of the yucks in Baby Mama, a fish-out-of-water comedy marking the directorial debut of Michael McCullers. The film pits Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler against the show’s former star/head writer Tina Fey in a surprisingly-subdued, estrogen-fueled class war.
The picture’s only weakness is that the pair’s antics pale in comparison to those exhibited by the low-class trash you can find making fools of themselves any day of the week on the average episode of the Jerry Springer Show. Amy’s lame portrayal of Angie proves to be an unconvincing example of art imitating life, so consequently, Baby Mama is a flick without any real baby mama drama.
Gratefully, this deficiency is slightly offset by several inspired performances sprinkled among a stellar supporting cast, including Steve Martin as Barry, Kate’s aging hippie boss; Greg Kinnear as her love interest; Romany Malco as her affable doorman; and Maura Tierney, as her concerned sister. Still, about the best that can be said for this formulaic, instantly-forgettable romp is that it’s above average for an SNL alum vehicle.

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, crude humor and a drug reference.
Running time: 99 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures

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