“Baby Mama” – Susan Granger reviews

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.