Written by Simon Steadman
Performed by Solidstate See more »
Come in laughing, come out wincing
One must approach a Broken Lizard film with the idea that the actors obviously have a lot of fun making these fun, energetic romps. Sometimes more than audiences like watching them. Broken Lizard hit a home run with me when I saw Club Dread, an inspired parody of slasher films with entertaining characters, and I found Super Troopers to be "fun, lively, and good-natured." These characteristics are totally absent in their latest flick, The Babymakers a dirty-minded, prepubescent comedy with repetitive jokes about semen, sperm banks, genitalia, masturbation, sex, you get the idea.
The Apatow-idea of "mixing heart with raunch" doesn't work here, because any attempt at humanity and sentiment is disregarded so things like sex puns and lame gags can take their turn on film. The leads are the laidback Paul Schneider and G4's gorgeous Olivia Munn, who are sadly not given much to do because the screenplay is so close-minded to nonsense. The two play Tommy and Audrey, a suburban couple who, after three years of marriage, are eager to start a family. After nine months of failed attempts, the two begin to question if one of them has a problem, whether it be Tommy with his sperm count or Audrey with her ovaries. Wow, took you nine months to realize that constant sex and no baby wasn't a good sign? I'd get nervous after attempt three.
They both get tested, and it is revealed that Tommy has a very low sperm count. One thing Audrey doesn't realize is that, in order to pay for an engagement ring, Tommy frequented a sperm bank twenty times for roughly eighty-five dollars in cold, hard cash each visit to pay for it. When she finds out, she's strangely disgusted and Tommy devises a plan with his pals (Kevin Heffernan and Nat Faxon) to try and stage a break in to the sperm bank warehouse to get the samples back. And she's completely cool with that. As an exercise, ask your spouse whether they'd be more aggravated at you for donating to a sperm bank or robbing one.
But first, Tommy learns that one of his samples is out on the market, and it has been purchased by a local gay couple. When Tommy goes to visit them it sets up a cruel and wholly unnecessary ten minutes involving some of the most awkwardly exchanged dialog this year. It's scenes like this that simply don't belong in a comedy, but The Babymakers is chock-full of scenes like that.
In order to try and pull off the heist in a coherent manner, they hire the walking stereotype, Ron-Jon (Jay Chandrasekhar, who also directs), who was rumored to be a part of the Indian mob. You can imagine how many jokes just this past sentence can set up and, let's just say, the film doesn't miss its chance to try and say all of them.
The real tragedy behind this picture is that in the mix of creating juvenile setups, crass gags, and scenes that stretch far beyond their reason lengths (take for example Kevin Heffernan's character, who during the sperm bank heist spills dozens of test tubes containing semen and spends minutes slipping and sliding around on the floor), the script successfully undermines both Munn and Schneider's chance at erecting believable, substantial chemistry, as well as both their acting talents. Schneider worked in successful independent flicks, and Munn has consistently proved herself to speak to the geek culture, much like other filmmakers such as Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith. They deserve better than this trite.
Jay Chandrasekhar is a reliable actor, but this is second time he has chosen to direct a film, involving the Broken Lizard team in lackluster material, with the first being The Dukes of Hazzard film adaptation. What this film needed in order to work was, one, a reality check. These events are highly implausible, yet are taken in the manner of sincerity and reality. Two, it needed a script more observant and intelligent. It could still be a raunchy comedy and fulfill this proposition, so my question is, why didn't it? And three, it needed to give both its leads some much deserved screen time instead of subjecting them to ridiculously contrived arguments about donating sperm to a sperm bank multiple times, uncomfortable discussions with the neighbors about possible donations, not to mention other sequences involving homosexual humor and a montage of blows to the scrotal region. I came to laugh, but I did far more wincing - one thing that is almost immediately fatal to comedies.
Starring: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, and Nat Faxon. Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar.
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