Amusing But Dated and Limited Look at Working Mothers
I was actually disappointed in Nancy Savoca's "24-Hour Woman" starring the ever wonderful Rosie Perez, though I didn't tell local movie reviewer/ex-Mayor Ed Koch that when he walked in for the next showing with a sour face as if he already expected it to be bad. I told him it was enjoyable, which it was.
I avoided seeing "Parenthood" and "Baby Boom" so I don't know if this in fact raises different, more authentic issues. Certainly tossed off lines are quite accurate and very funny, and are reflective of the thank you at the end of the credits to the many people who shared their "war stories" with the writers. (I guess I'm not the only one who felt like a POW at home with a baby who wouldn't sleep.)
But Savoca didn't reach far enough. While the secondary character does have school-age kids, hardly any attention is paid to the child care etc. problems of that age, as opposed to the baby woes of the lead, which in fact have been dealt with much more in popular entertainment, such as "Mad About You" (I always remind people that they are not just having a baby but having a person; babyhood is a very small percentage of the lifetime you're responsible for 24-7.)
Perez unrealistically working in a glamorous job is used for funny effect in the climax and also is the opportunity for deft jabs at talk shows and the media, but she's also working surrounded by women, mostly mothers in fact, so other issues aren't dealt with as well. So it seems to be the intent to just deal with a few issues, amusingly enough, but with no new insights, but at least some clichés are avoided (I thought all such movies had to include infidelity, but I think they wanted to challenge the Latin lover macho cliché, and there's also a very positive black father).
It just feels a few years old. And this is certainly the kind of movie where it's hopeless to expect a quiet audience as everyone talks back to what's happening on screen. This movie is less for parents to whom it will be like being back home than for those contemplating parenthood in the future. Ah but will there be a run on birth control pills after this?
(originally written 2/15/1999)
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