Thursday, April 24, 2008
"Baby Mama" Makes Do-Do
As good as a movie year that 2007 was, that's how disappointing 2008 has become.
An in less than six months.
An excellent case in point - and an even better representative of the year as it's shaping up (or down) to be - is the Tine Fey-Amy Poehler sitcom, "Baby Mama," which on paper at least sounds promising.
The idea of Fey playing an uptight, brittle, self-involved careerist and Poehler essaying the role of the rather overaged surrogate inexplicably selected by Fey to carry her spawn makes the mind go crazy with rude, evil, near-abberant and hilarious thoughts.
But there's nothing remotely rude, evil, abberant or hilarious in this happy-face movie. The two stars bring none of the edge that we've come to associate with them to the proceedings but instead make themselves fully accessible to the gloomy kid-centric obsession that seems to drive every PG- and PG-13-rated film these days. Yes, children are our future, but do they have to be the future of movies as well? Seems that way.
First-time filmmaker Michael McCullers keeps everything impersonal and bland, so as not to offend the stroller moms who are clearly his target audience.
His hastily executed final scenes make no sense whatsoever and require even more suspension of disbelief than the rest of his film. For example, why would the narrative bring Poehler close and cozy with Romany Malco's doorman and then drop their potential romance by fade-out?
Instead, Poehler somehow ends up back with her loser, white-trash boyfriend (a game Dax Shepard). Hey, but at least he's white, see?
This abrupt, seemingly 11th-hour about-face has "focus group" written all over it. But let's face it. "Baby Mama" was made for focus groups.
Like most of this year's films.
(Artwork: Fey and Poehler in the compromised "Baby Mama")
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Posted by joe baltake at 2:21 PM