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When I first saw the trailer for Baby Mama, I just thought this movie
was going to be a total disaster, it didn't look funny and like another
typical chick flick. But my friends wanted to see it, so we saw it
opening weekend, and actually I was surprised, I did like a lot better
than what I was expecting. Baby Mama is something that looks like from
the Lifetime Network, but it's all good, it has some really funny
moments and was just cute. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are two very funny
women from Saturday Night Live, they also did Mean Girls together and
made their characters an absolute joy to watch, so seeing them as the
leads in this film was going to be an interesting turn. Tina Fey
definitely has a lot of talent not only as a writer, but as an actress,
she made her character believable and as neuritic as she was, she was
still likable. Amy Poehler made her character a little too SNL at
times, but these girls made the movie enjoyable and a fun flick to
watch for the afternoon.
Kate is a single and successful woman who seems to have it all in life, but one thing she wants so bad is a baby. But one problem, her uterus isn't liked by her doctor, in other words, she has a one in a million chance of getting pregnant. After adoption woes and sperm donor failures, she decides to get a sergeant mother who will get pregnant and give her a child. She meets white trash couple, Angie and Carl. Angie moves into Kate's apartment after her break up with Carl, so this "odd couple" has to teach each other some new moves in life.
Baby Mama is actually worth the watch, I was very impressed with how much I liked it, like I said, from the trailer, it doesn't seem like a good movie, but when you watch it, you get the laughs and the smiles that the movie promises. It is a chick flick, warning to people who have a strong hatred for them, but I'm not a fan of chick flicks, and you know what? I thought that this was just a fun movie that if you let go and even enjoy the predictability, you'll find yourself loving Baby Mama.
Say what you will about the marketing machine, but I truly think the
people behind promoting Baby Mama did a bang up job
even if I believe
they did so without trying. They make expectations so low in the
trailer that you almost have to enjoy the film. Was it a great comedy?
No. However, it was much better than I ever could have hoped as Michael
McCullers takes us places you never would expect going in. I thought
that it would be a water-downed, overlong SNL skit with one woman
asking another to carry her baby, leading to a generic odd couple
pairing with hijinks and gags piling on top of each other, collapsing
under its own weight. Instead we are treated to a pretty sentimental
and touching portrait of two women learning to grow and evolve with
help from the other, a person, in both regards, that they never would
have thought could teach them anything. Even the pregnancy aspect takes
a ton of twists and turns never becoming the straight shot gimmick just
bringing everyone together. The surrogate mother here must make some
tough decisions as she continues along on her journey, lending a side
to the tale that actually brings it to a level of intrigue that no
Lorne Michaels film has done in recent memory.
I don't want to ruin the plot points of Angie Ostrowiski's pregnancy, but let's just say it isn't cut and dry. Her motives aren't genuine, something that is obvious from the start, just not quite in the way you anticipate. There are surprises for her and secrets hidden from the other characters as she wrestles within herself. A "white-trash" loser, attached to a man that believes waiting on the phone to be the 132.7 caller is a job, Angie learns a lot while with mom-to-be Kate Holbrook. Kate, being the professional VP of an organic food market, is a very detail orientated woman who is by the books and unafraid to tell others what they should do. It is an oil and water connection, butlike all good relationships of this kindbreeds some real funny and touching moments. Who thought watching Karaoke on the Playstation could be so much fun? Sure many instances feel like skits written separately and plugged in later, (the clubbing while pregnant, the press conference ambush, and the surrogate therapy sessionprobably the funniest scene without question), but they are surprisingly strung together to make a pretty coherent whole.
The other thing that the trailer hides is the inclusion of two great male roles. Did anyone know that Greg Kinnear and Steve Martin were in this thing? I for one was completely surprised by both, almost chuckling that they would have a small cameo until I realized that both were key roles to the whole. In the best turn of the film, Steve Martin is crazy, hippie genius. His earthy style of living, complete with long ponytail and soft speech, even when angered, is classic, as is everything uttered from his mouth. He is so good that I would be thrilled to have him offer me 5 uninterrupted minutes of staring into his eyes as a reward for a job well done. For Kinnear's part, he plays the usual love interest that is commonplace in films of this ilk. It's not flashy and it's not very original, but Greg is a stalwart and pulls off the good guy persona, even including a little bit of physical humor at the end.
Overall, though, this film is pretty standard fare. It goes into very broad comedy at times and very sappy/overly-sentimental drivel at others. There are some good jokes sprinkled throughout and for the most part keep it fun for the duration. Definitely feeling longer than it is, I never quite felt bored and I did begin to get invested in the story to see how it all would turn out. A lot of that can be credited to the chemistry between Tina Fey and Amy Pohler as Kate and Angie respectively. Both these women do a great job with their roles, fleshing out the psychotic relationship to perfection. One of the successful dynamics is how Fey becomes a mother figure to her surrogate. Even going so far as having temper tantrums and rubber-faced reactions, Pohler is a child.
It's also nice to see some fun moments from the supporting cast, but again nothing really sticks out to vault anything into must see territory. Sigourney Weaver is actually kinda scary in a very weird role; Romany Malco has plenty of great one-liners and facial expressions; and John Hodgeman is a bit odd in a small bit, with laughs coming more from the recognition of his Mac commercials than anything he does in the film. In the end, while nothing over-achieves, it all adds up to a pretty solid comedy worth a view. Is it necessary to see on the big screen? Probably not, but if you were worried that it might be a train-wreck, just know that it never takes any chances to risk derailing, and that's not a bad thing.
Due to my love of Tina Fey I went out of my way to see this film at the
cinema; on first release it was only shown at 11-30 in the morning and
I dragged my mum to watch in an empty theatre. All I can say is that it
was worth the effort.
The two leads bounce off of one another with brilliant comic timing, and both manage to make their flawed characters utterly likable. Yes, the plot is predictable, and no, there is no joke that made me fall out of my seat. However, it did deliver on many levels. The comedy was sharp and although the ending was a little contrived it did manage to put a goofy smile on the face of a cynical teenager, IE moi. 'Baby Mama' is perfect chick fare, and I am disappointed in the cinemas who have cleared all their screens in preparation for the release of 'The Dark Knight'.
Poehler and Fey sparkled and were supported by an excellent cast; Steve Martin was odd, providing some light comedy, but it was Sigourney Weaver and Greg Kinnear (back on form and looking less haggard) whom i felt really carried the film in the absence of the two leads.
Baby Mama was refreshing and a great indication that we should see more of these two girls on the big screen.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler prove that buddy comedies need not be the
exclusive domain of naughty boys.
"Baby Mama" is no comic masterpiece, but it's at least as good as any number of formulaic comedies churned out by Hollywood and much better than many others. Fey is the uptight career woman who hears her biological clock ticking at 37 and wants to have a baby before it's too late. Poehler is the low-class, free-wheeling blonde who agrees to be her surrogate mother for a hefty fee. The usual odd-couple conflicts ensue, maternal instincts kick in, and in traditional sitcom style, everyone gets what they want in the end.
The movie is mostly an excuse to give Fey and Poehler the chance to riff off of one another, and they do it well. Poehler especially displays the ability to carry a movie, something most SNL veterans aren't able to do. She's funny, but she's also able to embody an actual character rather than simply do skit-T.V. schtick. Just watch her horrified face the first time she tastes water; or the hilarious scene when Fey wrestles her into the shower and begins to scrub the hair dye off of her head in a scene that spoofs "Silkwood."
Also starring Greg Kinnear as a smoothie store owner, and a whacked out Steve Martin as Fey's new age boss.
Saturday Night Live, whether or not you consider it still funny, is
going through a great period. Ratings are fairly high coming off of the
writers' strike. The show is riding the Democratic nomination race wave
pretty well, featuring either Clinton, Obama, or both in at least one
sketch per episode. Due to their recent successes, it makes sense that
SNL's comedians want to branch out into movies like they successfully
did in the 90s with Wayne's World. Baby Mama serves as one of these
movies, featuring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the helm and at least two
more members from the SNL team in the background, namely Will Forte and
Fred Armisen. Steve Martin, a frequent SNL host, can also be found in
this movie. After reading the character list, it's clear where the SNL
comparisons and references come from.
Considering its origins and its genre abroad, I went into the theater with relatively low expectations. At most, I hoped for a sort of feel-good comedy that had a lot of laugh scenes that made up for some corny drama scenes. I got the laugh scenes, but surprisingly, the drama scenes weren't very corny. Baby Mama, as can be determined from the title, deals with Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey's character), a powerful businesswoman and executive in an organic foods company and her burning desire to have a baby and build a family, regardless of the difficulties. Unlike most comedies, this is actually a surprisingly serious topic, which enhances the dramatic parts of the plot quite a bit. You can actually take the characters and the story line quite seriously. Actually, Kate's character is almost entirely serious, aside from the occasional jokes on how uptight and socially inept she can be. Most of the laughs come from Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler's character), a not exactly high-class girl working for Chaffee Bicknell's (played by Sigourney Weaver) surrogacy agency that offers to be Kate's surrogate after Kate attempts and fails to get pregnant multiple times. As can be expected from Poehler, Angie is completely and totally ridiculous. Poehler is actually extremely good in this role, since she manages to play a "white trash" stereotypical character without coming off as corny, or at least most of the time.
Don't get me wrong; there are times when you can't help but cringe. A small portion of the humor is just far too corny, and can't make you laugh no matter how ready you are to laugh. However, anyone who watches Saturday Night Live is already used to this, since everyone knows that not every SNL skit is funny. Not by a long shot. However, the entire movie is irresistibly cute. The character development is fantastic, and Poehler and Fey working together really carries the entire movie. In fact, the men in the story are almost entirely irrelevant. Carl (played by Dax Shepard), Angie's low-class, tactless boyfriend, could have been much funnier than he actually is. Rob (played by Greg Kinnear), although a nice character and a nice addition, really only serves as an attractive male (and yes, he is very attractive in this movie) and someone to move the story along a little bit. Barry (played by Steve Martin), the president of the organic food company Kate works for, is an absolutely insane hippie that provides a lot of humor to the parts of the movie where Kate is at work. Five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact, anyone? (You'll get it when you watch the movie.)
At the end of the movie, you do really feel for the characters, or at least Angie and Kate. The other characters are sort of background even at the end, but they're still necessary, since there would be no offset to the Fey-Poehler humor that can just be taken in small doses to avoid becoming too corny to be enjoyable. I did find myself screaming on the inside a little at the end, because there's a gigantic time gap that left a lot of questions unanswered and irritated me quite a lot, but in reality, in order to fill out the entire story, this would either have to be a 3 hour movie, or there would have to be a sequel. This isn't the kind of movie to have a sequel, so I can see why they did it. I just think that some of the time that they wasted on Carl could have been used to develop that a little more.
Overall, Baby Mama is cute, and that's all I can see it ever trying for. It also seems to me to test the waters a little bit for a Fey and Poehler match-up that, when smoothed out a little around the edges, will be a very strong comedy duo. I did enjoy this film very much, and I would highly recommend it to someone who watches SNL frequently and likes Poehler's style of humor, or someone who just wants to go to the movies to have fun and feel good. It's certainly worth it. However, what I find more significant at the moment is my excitement for films in the future that will feature Fey and Poehler, and I truly hope that the film industry doesn't miss out on this potentially hilarious team. I'll be eagerly awaiting the day when I see them working together again - this is a first time, and it can only get better from here.
There is a smattering of smart laughs in this 2008 comedy, but
first-time director Michael McCullers really plods his own
coincidence-driven script along with little sense of style or dramatic
resonance. At times, it feels no better than a formulaic romantic
comedy from the 1960's usually starring small-screen celebrities trying
to break into the big time. Sure enough, this time, we are offered Tina
Fey (currently of NBC's "30 Rock") and Amy Poehler, former "Saturday
Night Live" Weekend Update co-anchors and definitely the cream of the
current funny lady crop. The problem is that McCullers, a one-time SNL
staff writer who also co-wrote the Austin Powers movies with Mike
Myers, doesn't elevate the screenplay much beyond the limited
dimensions of an extended comedy sketch. That puts most of the pressure
on the two women to make this farce work as a distaff version of "The
Odd Couple" with a pregnancy angle, and they often - you should pardon
the expression - deliver.
Ideally cast with her smart, bespectacled looks, Fey plays 37-year-old Kate Holbrook, single and professionally successful as the VP of an upscale organic supermarket chain much like Whole Foods. She hears her biological clock ticking and is taking every step possible to have a baby. Her last straw is to pay an agency $100,000 to find a surrogate. Naturally, her polar opposite shows up as the ideal candidate - a junk-food-eating, Red Bull-swilling piece of white trash named Angie Ostrowski who comes with her money-drubbing boyfriend Carl. Kate is so desperate she is practically begging Angie to carry her egg, so Angie willingly accepts. Somehow, the women end up living together during the pregnancy and inevitably get on each other's nerves, more Angie on Kate's nerves since a few revelations threaten to upend the deal. Convenience appears to trump logic in tying up the plot's loose ends, of which there are many. However, McCullers' alternately sauntering and piercing Judd Apatow-like approach helps compensate for the bigger lapses.
A game cast also helps. Although fairly limited as an actress, Fey is sharp and likable as the often dour Kate and has the ability to bring the implausibility of her character's situation into more human focus. Even though she is entirely too old for her role, Poehler is a more natural comic presence as Angie, terrifically manic but surprisingly poignant during key moments. It's obvious their joint casting has more to do with their proved rapport than dramatic credibility. In a turn worthy of Jeff Foxworthy, Dax Shepard credibly makes Carl a mercenary sheep. Romany Malco (memorable as Andy's horned-up co-worker in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin") is given little to do as the streetwise doorman, the same fate of Maura Tierney bland as Kate's supportive sister. Greg Kinnear must be getting awfully tired playing the same type of romantic foil over and over again, but he does do it well even though his scenes also seem strangely truncated. Two veterans threaten to steal the picture in acts of petty larceny - a pony-tailed Steve Martin very funny as Kate's Zen-seeking boss whose idea of a reward is allowing her to stare at him for five minutes, and Sigourney Weaver as the overtly self-satisfied and all-too-fertile head of the agency. SNL regulars Will Forte and Fred Armisen show up in cameos. A fitfully funny farce.
The early signs weren't good for Baby Mama. I saw a rather flat,
unfunny trailer and then the movie proceeded to make a decent enough
profit while garnering reviews that were, for the most part, kindly
pegging the movie as enjoyable but nothing special.
I was surprised, after finally viewing the film, to find that it's actually a hell of a lot funnier than many other movies that have received much more positive press.
Tina Fey stars as Kate, a very successful and very single businesswoman who yearns to have a baby but finds out that she can't. After exploring her options, Kate visits a surrogacy agency (headed up by Sigourney Weaver in a small, but fun, role) and eventually ends up with Angie (Amy Poehler) as the surrogate mother to the child she desperately wants. Angie is Kate's "baby mama", hence the title. The two women are very different in many ways and this leads to frequent clashes and insults being thrown around. But maybe, just maybe, they can help each other see things from a slightly different angle. You think? From an amusing opening sequence, Baby Mama does a lot of things right. It hits it's stride after setting up the main premise and doesn't ever really run out of steam until the last 10 minutes or so when the predictability of the whole thing comes to a stuttering, predictable climax. It's got no surprises to it but what it does have is:
a) A great cast in Fey, Poehler, Weaver, Greg Kinnear, Steve Martin (hilarious as a new-age, eco-friendly boss), Dax Shepard (not always great but playing white trash so well here and getting many of the funniest lines), Romany Malco and Maura Tierney. There's even a hilarious, though far too fleeting, appearance by Will Forte.
b) some sharp zingers in the script, with at least one every few minutes that will make you laugh out loud. Out of context, they may not seem that amusing but lines such as "can I just spray a little PAM down there right before the baby comes out?" and the delivery of "what if it had been poop?" are not up there with the best comedy lines ever but each exchange and display of ignorance adds up until things snowball to become constantly chucklesome.
c) Michael McCullers, who also wrote the script, directing with a nice, light touch that manages to avoid the recent trend of gross-out gags (although, hey, I am not one to maintain a stony silence in the face of any decent toilet humour) and lets everyone have enough decent screen time for their characters without letting anything run on too long.
In short, it's a comedy with characters that you enjoy watching and plenty of laughs throughout even if there are no surprises. Which makes it an entirely successful, if also entirely safe, comedy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Baby Mama" is Tina Fey's first lead film role. It's well-deserved
after her work on "Mean Girls" and "30 Rock", and she, along with
co-star and former SNL cast mate Amy Poehler, do a really nice job of
anchoring this one. Fey plays Kate Holbrook, a successful businesswoman
who also happens to be a struggling single one. At 37, Kate decides
it's time to try and have a child on her own, but her plans are smashed
when she finds out there is only a small chance that she can actually
become pregnant. With no other option, Kate finds an unlikely surrogate
in Angie (Amy Poehler), a trashy and low-rent girl who could really use
the money. After learning that Angie is pregnant, Kate begins
baby-prepping. Only what she doesn't expect is the arrival of a
pregnant Angie at her door with no place to go.
Director and screenwriter Michael McCullers suggests to us early that "Baby Mama" is going to be a tired trip down formula-lane. Kate is an order-nut, Angie is a messy free-spirit, put them together and you have the most predictable storyline ever told. Thankfully enough, McCullers proves clever in finding some fresh laughs here, whether they be from the scary and awkward process of connecting your life with a complete stranger or in the "trivialized" world of modern pregnancy where baby-proofing, the fears of bad eating habits and chemicals in house-hold products, and research books and videos have become exaggerated to the point of causing constant anxiety. The movie is actually damn funny and when it's not it's usually really lovable and it's nice to see a comedy that relies more on wit than on the next crude gag for a change.
Fey and Poehler are also a fantastic match. Fey plays self-deprecating and un-hip better than any actress out there and Poehler is a loonier and more zany comedic actress, and their previous work experience on SNL really shows here. Like some of the better buddy comedies of the past, they establish a chemistry that is as friendly and amusing as it is rocky. Having Greg Kinnear play Fey's love interest and Dax Shepherd play Poehler's idiot boyfriend is also perfect casting, as I had just as much fun watching these two comedic actresses toss around with them as I did with each other. And having two veteran and respected actors in your movie helps too. Sigourney Weaver as an older woman whose still as fertile as ever, and Steve Martin as Fey's hippie, vegan boss are both absolutely hilarious.
"Baby Mama" begins with an "oh no" but quickly settles into something witty and lovable. The script is smart and funny and the cast couldn't be better, especially Fey and Poehler, who seem very comfortable playing off one another. This movie is a good start to two promising careers, and with any luck, two careers that will hopefully cross paths again in another movie someday.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Baby Mama has a number of cute moments rolled into what is ultimately a
very unfocused, messy movie. The plot is very simple, Kate (Fey) is a
career woman who desperately wants to have a baby. She finds that
getting pregnant the usual way is nearly impossible, so she seeks out a
surrogate, Angie (Poehler) through an agency. The movie basically
follows the predictable, if still funny, "odd couple" formula.
Fey is very winning, and Poehler is a skilled comedian. Both do an excellent job of taking an average script and rising above it. Sigourney Weaver is amusing in a smaller part, Steve Martin also has some funny moments. Maura Tierney, Holland Taylor and Greg Kinnear are all given very little to do, and are wasted in their roles.
In short, this is a movie that was nice to rent, but left me wanting something more. The ending is kind of ridiculous, and feels out of place given the tone of the rest of the movie.
To be gifted with the ability to make people laugh is an honor, and
with films, script writers can't know for sure what will evoke an
uproar from the audience. A lot of times things are a hit in miss with
humor. I'm not saying this movie isn't funny, because i did laugh.
However, i didn't laugh as hard as i thought i would. The lack of
giggles this movie inspired in me is enough to provoke me to label this
movie as a letdown. It's not that this movie is bad, or an awful way to
spend an evening. It's that movies are an art-form and there is no art
to be found. I think a movie is great if two days later you're still
actively trying to find someone to talk about it with. i was ready for
the movie to end twenty minutes before the credits rolled.
I know what you're thinking. It is a comedy.It is not meant to be insightful. All this is true, but it still didn't meet the specific requirement that ever movie has to. It has to be worth the 8.50 cover charge, and it isn't. I recommend taking that money to a local bar, and buying a pretty lady a drink.
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