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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Baby Blues

    Baby Mama: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Steve Martin, Sigourney Weaver and Greg Kinnear. 99 min.

    As funny as it is problematic, “Baby Mama” knows that it is one in a line of recent films and TV shows that have addressed pregnancy.

    In contrast to”Knocked Up” or “Juno,” however, “Baby Mama” addresses the obverse issue of the unexpected pregnancy — the pregnancy that refuses to happen.

    Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live,” “Mean Girls”) plays a 37-year-old corporate type who has sacrificed family for career until her biological clock suddenly goes off, and she begins to see babies everywhere.

    As is typical in these scenarios, Fey’s character Kate finds out that she is practically infertile and her chances of conceiving a child naturally are slim. As a single woman, an adoption process would take forever, so Kate opts to go the surrogacy path.

    In an at-once hilarious and painfully embarrassing cameo, Sigourney Weaver plays Chaffee Bicknell, the pompous head of a surrogacy agency that extorts money from child-hungry infertile or gay couples, but who herself is able to have children “the normal way,” thus birthing an inordinate amount of ageist jokes in the film.

    The surrogate mother Kate finally ends up with is Angie (Poehler), a white-trash caricature with a “common law” husband from Dreery (get the pun?), a suburb of Philadelphia, where the film is set.

    Naturally, Kate and Angie have wildly different ideas on how a mother-to-be should take care of her body, and hilarity ensues when, for example, Kate gives Angie some water to drink and Angie spits it out, telling Kate “it tastes like sh-t!”

    Luckily, both Fey and Poehler are smart ladies and rarely allow their clich’eacute;d roles to feel like clich’eacute;s. They both give funny, energetic performances and their one-liners are impeccably timed.

    Steve Martin, as the head of the natural foods store chain that Kate works for, is delightfully funny as he embodies the “zen” way of life in a corporate setting, and Greg Kinnear provides a love interest for the lonely Kate.

    The love story line is undoubtedly the most clich’eacute; and seems out of place in the film, despite Kinnear’s solid performance. Ultimately his role is to make the corporate Kate somehow more likeable and to keep to Hollywood’s generic standards that demand a comedy end in a marriage — or at least a relationship.

    However, given the fact that it appears increasingly impossible for Hollywood to make a credible and empowering film about pregnancy or infertility, “Baby Mama” manages to be both funny and light-hearted enough to be worth watching, skirting the bigger issues and instead focusing on the laughs, of which there are plenty.

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