Baby Mama

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler team up for big-screen comedy in Universal’s “Baby Mama,” but just because the two of them know each other so well doesn’t mean the flick is hilarious. I love them both for the great work they’ve been doing on SNL, but this little escapade is a rather messy one. Fey stars as Kate Holbrook, a successful businesswoman who’s an expert at boosting her career but sucks at finding the right guy. You see, Kate is 37 and desperately wants a baby. Unfortunately, Kate is also infertile, which is why she hires chaotic sluggard Angie Ostrowiski (Poehler) to be her surrogate.

As amusing as the basic premise of “Baby Mama” may sound, nothing happens in the film, and I cannot help but blame the boring script. I’m convinced the whole thing would have been twice as funny and original had Tina Fey written it, but Michael McCullers (who also directed) completely misses the point. He gives his audience barely anything to work with except a simplistic story about a young, irresponsible woman who grows into an adult by getting pregnant. As for Kate, I guess the lesson she takes home is that, even at 37, it’s not too late to have a baby. Or something along those lines. I mean, whatever. Much of what you get to witness in this film is pointless anyway.

McCuller’s film shifts between drama and comedy, but neither is really captivating. In terms of comedy, the flick entirely relies on the few jokes we’ve seen in the trailer, but now that they’re in context, they’re not funny at all. It’s obvious that all the action in the film revolves around the chaotic relationship between Kate and Angie, but let me tell you, watching them argue and yelling at each other like teenagers for 96 minutes is almost unbearable. I found most of their conversations quite blatant.

What kept me going were the film’s hysterical side characters, especially the surprising cameos by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Steve Martin shows up as a hilarious organic food tycoon who wears a ridiculous ponytail and acts like he’s permanently at one with the natural environment. Convincing also is Greg Kinnear’s performance as a smoothie-store owner who shows interest in Kate. Kinnear has definitely grown into one of my favorite actors over the years and usually masters his roles perfectly. Also, watch out for Sigourney Weaver as head of a surrogacy firm, who drops some great one-liners and enjoys showing everybody she’s still perfectly fertile at the age of 57.

I guess my expectations must have been a little too high when I walked into this film, because I left the theater annoyed. “Baby Mama” is what I would call an immature comedy; not sophisticated enough and pretending to be something it’s definitely not. Again, Fey is a charming actress who’s also an incredibly talented writer, but her performance along side a hyperactive Poehler didn’t win me over. Director McCullers offers absolutely nothing that would make the film any better, and the final product is not as cute as we were led to believe. Waving a couple of adorable babies in front of the camera certainly won’t do the trick.

Review by Franck Tabouring