Baby Mama (PG-13)
Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown
Baby Mama? Really? That's where we're going with this? We're turning supposedly grown women into juvenile idiots, like we've been doing of late with supposedly grown men?
Look: Babies are great. Sex is great. They're both wonderfully messy and ridiculous and laughable. So why don't we get movies that acknowledge the deeply weird goodness of life's chaotic, confusing and hilarious stuff? Instead, we get films that treat their characters like they deserve to be snickered at and their audiences like children.
I expected more from Tina Fey, who at least seems like a grown-up. Here she lets herself be treated like she's not worthy of that respect. Her character, Kate Holbrook, is a successful professional who, at 37, decides she's done waiting for the right man and doesn't really need one to have a child of her own. Which would be fine, if the movie made any attempt at all, even in a farcical way, to understand women's lives.
Why bother when you can hire a man here, writer-director Michael McCullers, a Saturday Night Live writer who's never directed anything before to crack gynecological jokes and reduce a smart, competent woman to a simpering child? Oh, and she's a child who, conversely, is too twisted and old to seriously believe she could carry a child in her twisted and old womb. ("I just don't like your uterus," John Hodgman's OB-GYN tells her, and he's funny about it. I want to see a movie where a woman says to a man, "I just don't like your dick," and she's seen as humorous.) And it's not like Kate hires Juno to carry her baby; she hires white-trashy Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler), who is all of 16 months younger than Fey.
Kate defends her decision to use a surrogate mother to her own mother thusly: "Being single is not an alternative lifestyle." "It is when you're 37," her mom (Holland Taylor) replies, which is supposed to be a joke exposing her as out-of-touch ... except the rest of the movie appears to be on her side.
Even on its own sorry terms, Baby Mama is ludicrous, falling back on toilet humor because it has nothing else to offer. ("I'm sorry I called you stupid," Kate tells Angie. "I'm sorry I farted into your purse," Angie replies.) And, making fun of what it is supposedly celebrating: Why does Siobhan Fallon Hogan's new-agey birth coach come complete with a lisp, supposedly connoting emotional sensitivity as absurd?
If Baby Mama wants to pretend it's all about the human experience of nurturing a baby in the womb and giving it a good start in life which is what Fey's character is about then why is it making fun of getting in touch with that?
"I knew I was supposed to have a baby," Angie tells Kate at the faux sentimental ending, "but you taught me how to be a mother," for which there is no evidence whatsoever. Baby Mama is bizarre. It is atrociously written and it absolutely wastes Greg Kinnear as Fey's new love interest ... and if you can't follow where that subplot is going, you deserve this movie.