Movie review: ‘Baby Mama’

The premise sounded promising: A successful single
woman has everything, aches for the chance to be a mother and thanks to
her sketchy uterus, cannot.

Baby Mama

Directed by Michael McCullers

Universal Pictures

Rating: 3

The premise sounded promising: A successful single woman has everything, aches for the chance to be a mother and thanks to her sketchy uterus, cannot. For any young female who plans to have kids one day, it’s a genuine fear – the kind one wouldn’t mind laughing about every once in awhile.

Nonetheless, I found myself wanting and waiting to laugh a lot more than I actually did, and it’s not the fault of any of the actors. If it were not for the immense talent and charm of leads Tina Fey (“30 Rock”) and Amy Poehler (Blades of Glory), this predictable odd-couple sitcom would have fallen flat. Thankfully, the “Saturday Night Live” duo kept things pleasantly bubbly.

Really, it’s hard not to love Tina Fey in almost anything – she is strong, intelligent and genuinely funny. It comes through in all of her work.

Playing the 37-year-old Kate, an executive at a Whole Foods-esque health food company called Round Earth, Fey is told that her chances of ever getting pregnant are slim. She will do whatever it takes to have a baby, even paying Angie (Poehler) an exceedingly brazen, Dr. Pepper swigging, half couch-potato, half party-girl, to be her surrogate.

Written and directed by rookie Michael McCullers, a writer during Fey’s early SNL days, one can kind of smell the film inexperience lurking beneath. The writing is simply not that funny, though there are some interesting characters to enjoy.

Steve Martin is pretty hilarious as Kate’s boss, a gray pony-tailed, new-agey CEO who rewards his diligent employees with “five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact.” Greg Kinnear plays a juice store owner and Kate’s eventual love interest, complementing the baby mama drama with a romantic subplot.

When Angie breaks up with her deadbeat husband, Carl (Dax Shepard) she moves into Kate’s apartment, where she litters it with chewed gum and empty Ho Hos wrappers.

The dialogue and between the hip but unkempt slob and the uptight but responsible professional is very predictable. Pregnant Angie refuses to eat healthy even at Kate’s constant demands for her baby’s sake, claiming “Organic food is for rich people who hate themselves.”

This sort of sassy repertoire is poorly written into the script and barely works, but the chemistry between the actresses is powerful enough to keep audiences amused. Sometimes I laughed, sometimes I didn’t – but despite the formulaic scenarios, I liked the characters too much to be disengaged.

-Sonia Parecadan