by Laura Tucker
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From the moment I first watched the previews for Baby Mama, I figured it was either going to be really, really funny or really, really bad. Starring two Saturday Night Live veterans, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, it would have to be one or the other. The trailers made it look good, but it had a hint of train wreck, despite Fey and Poehler being at the top of their game recently. My initial thoughts were wrong all the way around.
Baby Mama centers around Fey’s character, Kate, who, while striving to become the youngest vice president of a natural foods company, has to reassure her mother that being single isn’t an alternative lifestyle. Her deepest non-familial relationship is with her doorman, who could be the first doorman to steal the show since Rhoda’s Carlton. With an unhealthy uterus, Kate is forced to turn to surrogacy after the president of a surrogacy organization (Sigourney Weaver) cajoles her into it. Ironically, Weaver’s character appears to be the most fertile woman around, getting pregnant repeatedly despite her very advanced age.
Kate’s surrogate, Angie (Poehler), arrives for their first meeting in a beat-up Jeep with license plates that read BRING IT. Her common-law husband, Carl, insists on staying home with his iguana Bellboy, trying to be the 103.7 caller to a radio show after hearing “Red, Red Wine.” After the implantation, Angie leaves her husband and moves in with Kate, who is doing everything she can to convince her to live a healthier life, yet Angie only wants to lay around, eat junk, and play an American Idol video game.
To broaden the plot a little, a long-haired Steve Martin makes an appearance as Kate’s boss, the type of guy who tells stories of swimming with dolphins, tells people he’s “a great man that does great things” by rewarding his employees with five minutes of eye contact. Providing the only warmth of Baby Mama, until close to the end, is Greg Kinnear, playing the owner of a fruit smoothie store, who begins a relationship with Kate after they trade barbs on a few different occasions.
So, was the film really, really funny or really, really bad? The answer is neither. With stars like Fey and Poehler, and costars like Martin and Kinnear, it should knock it out of the humor park but doesn’t. Still, it provides adequate laughs. It has a creative enough plot, as while I thought I knew exactly where the film was going from the beginning, I was off a little.
The best surprise was at the end, when the film finally finds some warmth outside of Kinnear’s character. Despite the addition of him and Martin, it’s still a chick flick through and through.
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