**** (out of 5)
April 26, 2008
Amy Poehler as ANGIE
Tina Fey as KATE
Greg Kinnear as ROB
Dax Shepard as CARL
Directed by: Michael McCullers
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
There’s a lot of love out there for Tina Fey, and for good reason. She’s a funny, funny lady. And her presence and influence in the new film Baby Mama is easily what helped this film NOT become lost in the wash of pregnancy movies we’ve had over the past year.
But all that love should not be given only to Tina Fey. Amy Poehler deserves some love as well, and not the Dax Shepard kind. (God knows, no one deserves the Dax Shepard kind of love. You hear that, Kristen Bell?)
I have had a thing for both Amy Poehler and Tina Fey for years, ever since they brought good-looking ladies back to the Saturday Night Live ranks. (Sorry about that, Maya Rudolph. You just don’t make the grade.) They are both insanely funny, and they have such awesome chemistry that they could easily become the next great comedy team in film.
Am I gushing over Baby Mama too much? Perhaps. But I can’t help but feel some sort of relief after the lukewarm trailers promised The Brothers Solomon with chicks.
It seems that whether the films do well or not, Judd Apatow is universally credited with everything that’s funny in cinema today. Baby Mama is a nice reminder that it doesn’t take the Apatow hand to put together a witty, smart and sometimes naughty film.
Baby Mama follows Kate (Fey) as a 37-year-old woman who desperately wants a baby. After finding out she cannot conceive, she hires Angie (Poehler) to be her surrogate. When the white trash tornado of Angie’s life hits full force, she comes to live with Kate until the baby is born.
Baby Mama seems to be a rarity in comedy today. Where crummy films like Meet the Spartans explain all of their jokes and let them linger on the screen like a dead, rotting woodchuck, just in case the audience doesn’t get it in the first five seconds, the jokes in Baby Mama are thrown out at a rapid pace. Sure, you’re going to miss something, but I’d rather be covered in a barrage of funny lines than to be underwhelmed by an overplayed gag.
In addition to the writing, Baby Mama succeeds on its cast. Both Fey and Poehler are incredibly funny, but they are supported by a slate of other great actors. Greg Kinnear plays Fey’s love interest, and Steve Martin steals the show as the New Age guru health food nut boss of Kate.
Recently, thanks to the success of films like Knocked Up and Superbad, there’s been an effort to make so many comedies R-rated raunch-fests. And while I appreciate raunchiness in movies as much as the next guy, it’s nice to see a movie that can be smart-funny without going to the overused penis joke.
In a lot of ways, Baby Mama is one of the more kind-hearted comedies out there right now. Its safe enough to be a good date movie, although I’d caution against bringing a first date (or your significant other if you’re both not on the same page when it comes to having kids). Heck, it’s something I’d take my mom to, and I know she’d find it funny because she’s been through the whole baby experience herself.