Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Baby Mama" is a bundle of joy

*** out of ****

Baby movies seem to be all the rage in Hollywood. "Baby Mama" is a comedy that shows us the lighter side of pregnancy. While we confirmed this from last year’s "Knocked Up", "Waitress" and "Juno", unlike "Baby Mama" all of these films had a sober edge. "Mama" takes the sugary-sweet approach making it less memorable than the other films. However, it sure doesn’t skip on the laughs, providing many knee slapping moments.

From "Saturday Night Live"’s Weekend Update, the comedic duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have taken different career paths. Fey became a successful award-winning TV actress on NBC’s "30 Rock". Poehler stuck with "SNL" and took supporting scene-stealing roles in comedies like "Blades of Glory" and "Shrek the Third" to name a few.

In "Baby Mama" the laughable duo reteams again oozing with comedic chemistry.

Fey plays Kate Holbrook, a slightly altered version of her neurotic "30 Rock" character, Liz Lemon. Vice President at a Philadelphia organic supermarket chain; years of climbing up the corporate ladder, single Kate realizes all that is missing in her life is a baby. After many failed attempts at conceiving, 37-year-old Kate whose chances of becoming pregnant are one in a million, resorts to surrogacy.

When finding out that the hefty fee for a surrogate is $100,000, Kate wittily replies to clinic’s owner Chaffee Bicknell (Sigourney Weaver), “It costs more to have some one born than to have someone killed.” Chaffee casually rejoinders, “It just takes longer.”

Here is when Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler) a loud trailer park slob comes into play as Kate’s surrogate. While it seems hard to believe that a woman like her could pass the clinic’s screening process, Angie agrees to help Kate achieve her dream of becoming a mother.

But after Angie and her common-law boyfriend Carl (Dax Shepard) break-up, Angie, who has no clue on the rules of pregnancy, moves in with the welcoming Kate.

While living together, Angie teaches Kate how to let loose while Kate teaches Angie how to grow up; their clashing personalities provide many laughs in this female buddy comedy. Not serious or offensive to anyone, Baby Mama’s message shows that there are multiple ways of obtaining a child and no choice is the wrong one.

Lone writer Michael McCullers ("Saturday Night Live", "Austin Powers 2-3", "Undercover Brother") also makes his directorial debut. Predictable but fun, McCullers adds in some curveballs that you never see coming, that involve Angie not being entirely truthful with Kate.

A big strong supporting cast adds to the movies fun. Weaver is comical as the extremely fertile clinic owner. Shepard has his share of humorous one-liners. Romany Malco ("Weeds", "The 40 Year Old Virgin") is the amusing door-holder at Kate’s building who becomes Angie’s confidant. Maura Tierney ("ER") adds snarky quips as Kate’s sister along with Holland Taylor ("Two and a Half Men") as her mother. Siobhan Fallon also has a brief part as the teacher at a Lamaze class with an Elmer Fudd accent, one of the movie’s funniest scenes.

Gregg Kinnear is a big player in the film as Kate’s love interest who mixes in some drama. Steve Martin however, is the weakest actors as Kate’s over-the-top hippie boss with most scenes not fitting in with the rest of the film.

The pairing of two of the funniest women today, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, is what makes this movie an event to see. The scenes without them together are usually the frailest. Thankfully about 90% of the time they are side-by-side. Fey plays the same role type of a buttoned-up character with an everyday charm. Poehler on the other-hand is a loud-mouth, shrill, obnoxious character that somehow manages to find a place in our hearts.

A smart light comedy, "Baby Mama" is certainly a bundle of joy.

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