In World War II era Los Angeles, the manager of the Culver Hotel leaves his nephew in charge for a weekend. The nephew changes the name to the Hotel Rainbow and overbooks with royalty, ... See full summary »
This 03-03-03 review contains some minor spoilers.
I found `From Here to Maternity' at my local video rental outlet. I had never heard of it, and I decided to give it a shot. It's a curious piece; clocking in at only thirty minutes with a fifteen minute `Making of . . .' segment, there is not a lot of time to waste. I have not been able to figure out what it was made for. I am thinking maybe for a cable channel like HBO. Still, even for a television special, it seems extravagant. It's very well-crafted and has a strong cast. None of that would matter if it wasn't funny, though. Luckily, it is very funny and well worth the rent.
The short film is about three women: Veronica, Caroline, and Judy (Carrie Fisher, Lauren Hutton, & Arleen Sorkin). Veronica, a business woman, and Caroline, a music teacher, are single, and Judy is married to a number-crunching husband (Peter Aykroyd) One day, when all three of their biological clocks begin to let them know time is running out to have children, they all meet in a mission where the preacher (Margie Evans) convinces them to each have a child. Each one must then figure out how they are to get pregnant, and then, when they do, go through the birthing process. The movie is set in `chapters' detailing how they do each step. Never is there a groan-inducing gag, and some of the scenes are very funny. The best has to be when Caroline invites a huge group of men to a party for her to choose the father of her baby. Tom Schiller shows how good a director he is by rolling the scene long and creatively. There are also funny moments like a session with breathing coach Richard Simmons and the birth of Veronica's baby. And it lacks the deeply conservative view I feared it might have, that being a message that all women are required to be mothers. The whole thing is done so cleverly that I think it is a shame few people have seen it. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was Sorkin, but I guess she got the part because she was a producer.
Funniest of all is the final fifteen minutes, when they give us `The Making of From Here to Maternity.' I was surprised to see this after a thirty-minute movie, since you wouldn't think there would be money left over to produce someone fifty percent of the length of the feature. This segment is even funnier than the first thirty minutes, as it takes a satirical look at the making of a film instead of a serious `This is how we did it' approach. It is really funny to see producer Charlie Wessler begging the cast members to help fund the project, a running gag about the man that creates fake smoke, and Paul Reiser asking Wessler why the film of his best scenes are literally in pieces on the editor's floor. So if you happen to stumble across this movie (I am sure it will never see the light of cable television again), then I urge you to check it out right away. At the rate video tapes are vanishing, you might never get another chance to see it again. Zantara's score: 8 out of 10.
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