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"Baby Mama"

Directed by Michael McCullers.
Written by Michael McCullers (co-writer of "Undercover Brother").
Starring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Dax Shepard and Greg Kinnear.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  5/12/08


There's no other way to say it--"Baby Mama" is a Hard Vice, pure and simple.

This is supposed to be a comedy, but I'll be damned if I laughed more than five times while watching this absolute piece of shit briquette today after work; rarely do I see films that seem to be so misguided, randomly cast, or poorly executed.  It also felt like the filmmakers behind "Baby Mama"--including the film's director, first-time auteur Michael McCullers--almost knew that this would be bad, because the transitions for the film are awful and there are long stretches where my audience didn't laugh at all during scenes that were clearly meant to be funny.

Tiny Fey plays Kate, a 37-year-old single woman who has incredible success at her company and a personal life that is going in the exact opposite direction.  But, as bad as her dating life is, she knows one thing--she really wants a baby, so after learning that her uterus is "no good", she enlists the help of a baby services firm (or whatever the fuck they're called) to find a woman to carry her eggs through to birth...a woman who turns out to be a trailer-trash sack named Angie (Amy Poehler).  Lack of comedy ensues.

I admit that I had not heard good or bad about "Baby Mama" coming into this; in fact, I hadn't even seen a trailer for the film, odd since it has Tina Fey and a few other stars in it, but not that odd since I don't watch much TV and I almost never watch NBC, which I am sure broadcast the hell out of these trailers.  But, what a fucking dog this movie was!  You cast Dax Shepard in your movie, you are asking for trouble...I don't think that Poehler has been great in any of the films she has appeared in, but she just isn't better than spot duty her this meaty of a role was just a bad idea from the jump.  How many times can Fey play the socially awkward EveryWhiteWoman?  Kinnear looks like he stumbled onto the lot just in time to shoot a movie...and, Sigourney Weaver?  I really thought that Weaver would settle into older age nicely with roles in movies like "Galaxy Quest" and the severely underappreciated "Heartbreakers"...after a useless cameo in "Be Kind Rewind" and a role like this in "Baby Mama", the limit's the sky, friends!

As bad as the casting is, even a good cast couldn't make this script's easy to gauge a comedy if no one in your theater is laughing, especially in points where the filmmakers have built in pauses for what they think will be laughter, or bits where you can tell that something was meant to be funny on paper, but in execution was not.  And, "Baby Mama" just didn't make me laugh, and I'm pretty easy when it comes to laughter normally.  Of course, if your movie fucking blows...

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09