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Starring:
Amy Poehler
as Angie Ostrowiski

Tina Fey
as Kate Holbrook

Greg Kinnear
as Rob

Dax Shepard
as Carl

Romany Malco
as Oscar

Sigourney Weaver
as Chaffee Bicknell

Steve Martin
as Barry

Netflix, Inc.

Written and Directed by
Michael McCullers

Running Time: 1:36

Rated PG
for crude and sexual humor,
language and a drug reference.

C+


THE OPENING

Baby Mama had the potential to be a very funny movie, but instead became a predictable formulaic comedy.

THE STORY

Kate is a businesswoman, first and foremost. But now at the age of 37, she's decided she wants to become a mom. However her uterus isn't up to the challenge, so she has to find another means of having a baby. She hires Angie to be her surrogate, but Angie may or may not be up to it herself. When Angie leaves her boyfriend and moves in with Kate, both of their worlds turn upside down. Will Kate finally get the baby she desires so much? And will Angie ever grow up?

THE REVIEW

The idea of a movie with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler was more than enough reason to go see this film. Both of them are highly talented, very funny actresses and you kind of expect the movie to be filled with one-liners and other jokes. The problem is, while it sort of starts off that way, it doesn't sustain the humor. There is a plot twist that occurs a little more than midway through the film, one which I will admit I didn't see coming. However, as soon as it does happen, a 5-year-old could predict how the movie would turn out. I really wish the writer/director had continues down the original path instead of turning the movie into something very simple and obvious.

Both Fey and Poehler are attractive women, but not in the supermodel kind of way. They both seem very approachable and easygoing, so that you can see yourself being friends with them, if you ran into them on the streets. But both were misused in the film. Fey's comedy is a laid-back, observational humor, kind of like Seinfeld, just not as loud. But she was the straight woman in this film, with only a few opportunities to break out. Poehler on the other hand, can go from calm humor to just loud and over-the-top comedy (favorite scene is when they're both in the shower together - and no, it's not what you think). But she was kept muted throughout most of the film. Her character could have been a loudmouth, dimwitted white trash woman just looking to make some money, but she turns into a very serious, sad character for the last third of the movie.

The person who really stole the movie was Steve Martin. While the rest of the supporting cast was decent (including Sigourney Weaver, Greg Kinnear and Dax Shepard), it was Martin who stole every scene he was in. He plays a new-age hippy who runs the organic food company Kate works for. His idea of rewarding Kate is to stare into her eyes for 5 minutes, uninterrupted. His scenes were short, but every time he came on screen, you couldn't take your eyes off of him. The rest of the cast was, as I said, decent, but sort of wasted with stock roles. Kinnear had almost nothing to do, Shepard had a couple of blustery scenes, and Weaver had a couple of funny moments, but her character's age was the running joke.

I guess I was just expecting something more. I hadn't realized that this was written by someone other than Fey, which surprised me. Although the writer/director has had some big screenplays (2 of the 3 Austin Powers films) this one didn't quite connect with the audience. There was polite applause at the end, and to be sure, some laughter throughout, but it just wasn't a laugh out loud comedy. It played out more like a romantic comedy, but one where the romance didn't start until 2/3 of the way through the film. I honestly think the title of the movie and the marketing leads people to believe this is played as a straight comedy, when in fact it can get very serious and almost sad. And I don't want to see a movie where Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are serious.

DVD EXTRAS

The DVD has a few extras on it. The DVD is a double-sided disc so there are a couple of extras on each side. Both sides have a commentary track featuring Tina Fey. One side has that and a making-of documentary which is your typical love-fest between cast and crew. The other side has a few hit-or-miss deleted scenes and an alternate ending, which I'm thankful they didn't use. And then there's a documentary whose title leads you to believe it'll be about Saturday Night Live but instead is basically about Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, writer/director Michael McCullers and Lorne Michaels and how they've all known each other for years... because they met on SNL. It was a little disappointing. So really, if you're buying this movie, you're buying it for the movie, not the extras. I will say however that watching it a second time on DVD was funnier than when I saw it in theaters.

THE BOTTOM LINE

So overall, I thought Baby Mama was just OK. It had a lot of potential, and a few laughs, but in the end it just didn't make me feel much of anything. Let's hope the next time these two leading women of comedy get together, it's for an actual comedy.

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reviewed 04/23/08

© 2008 Wolfpack Productions

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