I went to see Baby Mama on opening weekend with high hopes, not only because I was going to the movies, but also because I was going to a comedy starring two women. I was thrilled, my blood pumping with excited anticipation; mowing on popcorn like there was no tomorrow, and, unlike a number of my movie-reviewing fellows, I wasn’t disappointed.
Basically, it’s a movie about the typical career-driven (alpha?) female, focused on work over family, who wakes up one morning to the unavoidable clanging of her “biological [alarm] clock” (Is there really such a thing? I’ve yet to feel that allegedly “innate” and “fundamental” “motherly” urge to procreate). The movie begins with Kate (my comedic idol, Tina Fey) literally seeing babies everywhere; oogling every infant and toddler who passes her by, and fantasizing that her board of directors at Round Earth Foods turn into drooling babies for her to take care of. As we’ve all seen from the previews, she tries artificial insemination (encouraging her womb with post-its proclaiming “be fertile!” and “relax. it will happen”), where PC John Hodgman tells her he just “doesn’t like her uterus;” she tries adoption, but can’t wait up to three years, and her adoption agent ends their encounter by ominously shaking his head; so Kate turns to Angie (my other comedic idol, Amy Poehler, the self-proclaimed feminist– huzzah!), who, through a surrogate agency (headed by Sigourney Weaver!), agrees to carry her baby. And, of course, hilarity ensues. From Steve Martin’s ponytail and 5 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact to pretty much everything that Angie did (“i’m not trying to be dramatic, but i would rather be shot in the head than eat this crap.”) to Kate’s airbag protected stroller, I was sold.
For once, it was refreshing to see a comedy (though written by a man) that was advertised using only the star power of the two female leads and was about a women’s issue that anyone from our generation could, on some level, relate to. I was floored the first time Steve Martin was onscreen– he’s in this too??– and again the first time I saw Weaver and Greg Kinnear (though that one was probably a smart move…). Was it a Hollywood experiment? testing the water for a female driven comedy? Were “they” hoping it would bomb so that “they” could go back to making the shit-storms that usually qualify as quality comedy having given us unfunny women a shot?
I was reallllly surprised by all of the negative reviews that i read for this movie, that were, more often than not, written by men and included more than one pun involving childbirth. what, does it make you less “manly” if you laugh when a woman makes a joke? is your manhood redeemed when you summarily dismiss it using shitty one-liners like “Baby Mama” is no miscarriage, but it’s hardly a bundle of joy”? and this guy seriously named his review “Ken’s Review: Baby Mama- Don’t be scared guys, it’s actually funny”?? who knew funny women were scary.
well guess what: Baby Mama was the highest grossing film its opening weekend, beating out the shoe-in of “legitimate” and “dependable” comedy, the latest Harold & Kumar flick.
suck on that! and make more Fey/Poehler movies….