New review: ‘Baby Mama’

I review the surrogate/maternity comedy Baby Mama in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The biological alarm isn’t just ticking in “Baby Mama,” it’s ringing so loud that single career woman Kate (Tina Fey) will do anything for a bundle of joy. With adoption out of reach and her own reproductive chances “one in a million,” that means a surrogate mother for her otherwise fertile eggs. Or, in the words of the surrogate pregnancy entrepreneur (Sigourney Weaver): outsourcing.

babymamapicture.jpgEnter Angie (Amy Poehler), a South Philly high school dropout with a low-watt loser of a common-law husband (Dax Shepard) and a junk-food diet. The trajectory isn’t all that hard to predict: Angie leaves her white-trash hubby and moves in with Kate, where odd-couple collisions and decidedly unusual pregnancy complications ensue.

The movie is what it is, but I must confess that for all the by-the-numbers plotting and utterly conventional turns of the plot, there’s a dynamic between stars Amy Poehler and Tina Fey that both lifts the comedy and grounds the characters in ways that made the film better than it should be. Their chemistry makes them a natural odd-couple buddy team, a genre so dominated by male comics that it’s practically an endangered cinematic species, and I hope it’s the beginning of beautiful big screen friendship. Maybe Fey can even write their next team-up herself.

The friends and former “Saturday Night Live” collaborators make a good odd-couple buddy comedy team. Fey underplays the uptight corporate professional with a frozen half-smile whenever she slides out of her narrow comfort zone and Poehler exuberantly overcompensates as the trashy woman-child who still acts as if she’s a sassy high school girl and is stymied by a child-proofed apartment.

It’s just that broad comedy isn’t always suited for their brand of improvisational give-and-take.

Read the full review here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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