With every magazine extolling “baby bumps” and the awareness of thirtysomethings that their biological clock is ticking, there’s no question that this romantic comedy is timely.
And perhaps I expected too much when two of the funniest comediennes from “Saturday Night Live” – Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler – teamed up with writer/director Michael McCullers and producers Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn.
Businesswoman Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) has always been so focused on her career at Philadelphia’s Round Earth Organic Market – catering to her New Age guru boss (Steve Martin) – that she never considered having a family. But now that she’s ready, apparently, her uterus isn’t. Discouraged about adoption, she turns to Chaffee Bricknell’s (Sigourney Weaver) maternal ‘outsourcing’ agency that teams her up with a ‘gestational assistant’ or surrogate, scheming Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler). Or, as Kate’s wisecracking doorman (Romany Malco) dubs her, “the baby mama.”
But Angie’s saddled with a sleazy, duplicitous common-law husband (Dax Shepard) whom she eventually leaves – and moves in with Kate. They’re a female “Odd Couple”: Kate’s an obsessed perfectionist, while Angie’s a junk-food gobbling slob. To add to the confusion, Kate’s falling in love with a local fruit juice-bar owner (Greg Kinnear), a single father. Of course, eventually, everyone discovers what the non-traditional concept of ‘family’ is really all about.
While seasoned as the writer of two successful “Austin Powers” pictures, Michael McCullers, who once shared a “SNL” office with Tina Fey, could have used a more experienced comedy director; this is his first feature film – and it shows, not only in the pacing but in the woefully weak third act. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Baby Mama” is a wry, satirical 7. It’s just not as hip as I was hoping.