Film Review: Baby Mama
You might well think: “This is another one of those chick flicks about a thirty-something woman trying to juggle a career and independence with the tick-tock of her biological clock. Isn’t it a bit soon to have another of these after the recently released Sex and the City movie? And who’s the woman in the lead? Never heard of her…”
Such thoughts would be entirely understandable, given the circumstances. The plot, revolving around a career woman who desperately wants a baby and so hires a surrogate mother, does at first glance look entirely predictable and as such, not worth bothering with. But where the assumption would normally be that maternal feelings win out over career-mindedness, following a brief moment of uncertainty as the surrogate mother wants to keep the child for herself, this is thankfully not filmmaking by numbers. Indeed, though the talent involved may not be A-
list names, they are certainly far too canny to produce anything so predictable.
The first cause for hope is the writer/director, Michael McCullers. Never heard of him? Little wonder. He may have co-written three of the most successful comedies of the last decade, but considering the other writer was also the star of the films in question, and those films were the Austin Powers movies, it should come as no surprise that Mike Myers got pretty much all the credit. This is also McCullers’ directorial debut. Despite having worked on American TV comedy legend Saturday Night Live, he never ventured out in front of the camera. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty enviable track record and with his Austin Powers involvement you can be pretty sure that he can deliver on the funny.
Backing McCullers up by taking centre stage in the lead is another former Saturday Night Live writer. Yet, the difference is that Tina Fey also appeared on the show over a ten year period, so in the US she’s about as recognisable as you can get.
Saturday Night Live launched the careers of the likes of Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers and Will Ferrell, among many, many others. It’s a breeding ground for new A-list comics in the States and Fey looks to be the next of its alumni to try and make the break onto the big screen.
Fey may well have already proven herself capable via her amusing sitcom 30 Rock, which she writes as well as stars in. The show revolves around a fictional Saturday Night Live-style TV show. But television and the movies are two very different things. Plus, of course, anyone who’s followed the careers of former Saturday Night Live comics will know that many more have failed than succeeded when making the move to Hollywood. Who remembers the cinematic outings of Chris Kattan or Jimmy Fallon? Precisely.
Nonetheless, between them McCullers and Fey have more than enough experience to know what’s likely to work. So as Fey’s character ends up having the woman who is bearing her child move in with her, this may well be seen as a 21st century version of The Odd Couple with women instead of men, but it’s one with its fair share of laughs. And thankfully Fey – backed up by fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus Amy Poehler as the feisty surrogate mother – is charming enough to pull it off. Not one that many men will be keen to see, but for women of a certain age there’s more than enough to entertain.