Plot: Kate (Tina Fey) has focused on her career and racked up some impressive accomplishments, setting herself for a bright, secure future. But while she takes great pride in her success in the business world, she set aside her personal life to do so and now, she has some second thoughts. So she visits a sperm bank and plans to have a child, only to discover that she is infertile. While she is crushed, she doesn’t give up and seeks out a surrogate to carry her child. She chooses Angie (Amy Poehler), a colorful, sweet young woman who seems excited, not to mention willing to make the needed lifestyle changes. But as time passes, a lot of red flags arise around Angie, making Kate wonder if she chose the wrong baby mama?
Entertainment Value: Baby Mama is a light romantic comedy with some odd couple dynamics, as Kate finds herself involved with a surrogate that clashes with her style, as well as a potential romantic interest that does as well. I wanted to love this one, as it seems to have a great collection of talent involved, but it ends up as a mediocre, mostly forgettable experience. The premise is rather thin, so the movie piles on side threads and while this helps distract from the core narrative, it also throws a lot of less than effective filler into the mix. Kate’s romance is beyond forced and derails the movie’s flow, just to shoehorn some sentiment in. But these kind of comedies seem to thrive on showing that women can have both love and a career, so I suppose it should be no surprise that theme is wedged in. I think Baby Mama is best served in the scenes between Kate and Angie, as those provide the most laughs and of course, Fey and Poehler have fantastic chemistry that carries those sequences. There’s not enough plot there to keep the entire movie there, but when the side threads and supporting roles fall so flat, it makes you wish there was. Baby Mama isn’t a terrible comedy, but it is a disappointment and fails to make good use of the substantial talent involved.
I was drawn to Baby Mama because Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have the lead roles, a dynamic duo that seems to be able to make lemonade out of even the most rotten lemons. As I said before, the movie’s best moments center on the pair and their banter is a lot of fun here. The two just have an uncanny level of timing together, so even routine humor can land stronger than it would otherwise, which is good, since the writing here is mediocre in most scenes. I love Poehler as the wild child here, peeing in the sink and living for karaoke, it is just a fun performance. The movie suffers when the focus leaves these two, however. Steve Martin has a small role here, but he is wasted and given no fun lines or moments to shine. Seems like a shame to have such a great talent, then do nothing with his presence. I did like Sigourney Weaver’s scenes, as she embraced the silliness of her role well and added some laughs. The cast also includes Fred Armisen, Dax Shepard, Will Forte, Maura Tierney, and Greg Kinnear.