Friday, January 24, 2014

Baby Mama (2008) [PG-13] ***

Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) is a 37-year-old executive for a chain of environmentally-friendly supermarkets called Round Earth, run by Barry (Steve Martin) an aging, spiritual hippie with a ponytail. Kate would love to have a baby but her gynecologist says her chances of getting pregnant are one in a million.

So she contracts with a very expensive agency run by Chaffee Backnell (Sigourney Weaver) to find her a surrogate mother. Chaffee comes up with Angie (Amy Poehler) a white-trash bottle blonde with a junk food diet. Angie has an equally trashy boyfriend (Dax Shepard) who has a plan for Angie to pretend to be pregnant, take Kate's money for several months until the truth becomes obvious and then split with the money. Meanwhile Kate is searching Philadelphia for a development site for Barry's new flagship supermarket, and meets Rob (Greg Kinnear) who used to be a corporate lawyer but now runs Fruity Juice, a one-store Jamba Juice clone that never has any customers.

Kate and Rob begin dating although she hasn't told him about Angie and the baby. When Kate takes Angie for her 18-week ultrasound, it looks like Angie is going to have to confess, but, surprise, she turns out to be pregnant. The big question: is she carrying Kate's baby or her own?

The film's production values are excellent, and the camera loves Tina Fey, who has great comedic timing, and whose expressive face is reminiscent of a young Lea Thompson. The supporting cast is capable but underutilized, especially Martin, Shepard and Kinnear, as well as Holland Taylor as Kate's mother, and Maura Tierney as her sister. However, the screenplay lacks originality, there's no memorable dialogue, Poehler's character should have been better developed, and the major plot points are telegraphed well in advance. The end result is a film that's no more satisfying than the recent Miss Conception with Heather Graham. Only Tina Fey's most ardent fans will be satisfied with this mediocre bit of fluff. 

Labels: comedy, romance

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 55/100
Tomatometer (critics=64, viewers=56)

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