Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Mama

Yes, I'm fully aware that Baby Mama, written by director Michael McCullers (with script doctoring by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler), isn't my normal fare. You may, as I did, think that all the funny parts are in the trailer and it's going to be an otherwise lame comedy of fertility hijinks as successful businesswoman Kate Holbrook, played by Tina Fey, discovers that not only does she really, really want a kid, but she is infertile and as a single woman, it's hard for her to adopt. Enter Sigourney Weaver's surrogacy agency who supplies Holbrook with high school dropout and grown-up child Angie Ostrowiski and her commonlaw husband Carl. Angie moves in with Kate when she breaks up with Carl and each woman has to learn how to live with each other.
There are a lot of jokes in the script that wouldn't have made me laugh if they were handled by any other pairing, but Poehler and Fey made them work. The amazing, if not underused, supporting cast really helped to tie down the bad and fluff up the good. I love Sigourney Weaver anyway and it's been so much fun watching her pop up unexpectedly in small, quirky roles over the past year or so. Romany Malco, who was excellent as Conrad in HBO's Weeds, was great as the door man Oscar, but I felt like some of his scenes wound up on the cutting room floor. Steve Martin, who I did not know was in the movie until I saw the poster, was perfect in his role as Kate's creepy, but strangely genuine, Earthy crunchy boss. I kept thinking they they were going to make him come onto Kate, but they didn't (thank God) unless that, too, ended up on the cutting room floor. Finally, Greg Kinnear as Kate's love interest (another one I didn't know was in it until I read the poster -- I stayed away from most of the marketing, to be honest) was wonderful, but also underused.
As I said previously, had Fey and Poehler not come on board, the script would have languished in typical baby comedy world...and I wouldn't be writing the review you're reading. They worked some kind of magic, because I laughed and I laughed quite a (surprising) bit. It's not hard to make me laugh, it's just hard for movies to make me laugh...usually because I see the joke coming from miles away. This one just worked for me.
Overall: A funny movie.

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