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Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Baby Mama: Does it Deliver?

*Warning, spoilers ahead.*

 

Tina Fey knows where it’s at. An award winning TV writer and comedian, she’s also the mom of a 2-year-old. So when my gal pal and fellow Fey fan Gayle and I to see Baby Mama [1] on its opening weekend, we had very high hopes that the movie would make us – moms with six kids between us -- laugh out loud.

 

Alas, we were not disappointed.

 

Walking into the movie, though, I thought the premise was a little iffy: A single, successful, career-oriented woman, 37, decides she wants to have a baby. She goes through countless infertility treatments (inseminations, in vitro fertilization) only to be told by her ob/gyn that she has a “one and a million chance” of ever conceiving a baby. After learning that the adoption process could take up to five years and that it’s challenging for a single woman to adopt a baby, Fey’s character, Kate Holbrook, decides to go the gestational surrogacy route, hiring Amy Poehler’s working class gal and prodigious gum-chewer Angie Ostrowiski to carry her baby.

 

Despite Baby Mama’s funny trailers, I was leery about whether those who pursue infertility treatments would be mocked and whether there’d be a you-waited-too-long-you-selfish-narcissistic-career-gal-you thread weaving its way through the story. However I’m pleased to report, those things never happen. If anything, Baby Mama seems to use Fey’s character’s age, as well as her career success and financial security as a plus, not a minus. Nowhere did I see Kate lambasted for her life choices, which is a refreshing change.

 

So, with those concerns out of the way, I know you’re waiting to find out the answer to the key question: Is it funny? I thought so. Even though the “30 Rock [2]” star didn’t create this movie (she writes, produces and stars in her TV show), there are many scenes which spoof contemporary parenting and uptight, safety mania so well that I was surprised to learn that she didn’t write the script.


Here’s a sampling of a few funny bits:

 

Fey’s Kate’s a bit of a neat freak. Combine that with a hedonistic, grind-your-potato-chips-into-the-rug mentality of Poehler’s surrogate mom character Angie -- who sticks wads of gum under Kate’s coffee table -- and hilarity ensues. The two are at comic odds . . . frequently . . . particularly when the anal retentive Kate has her entire condo professionally baby-proofed (yes, professionally baby-proofed) when Angie is only in her first trimester. And Angie can’t figure out how to open the toilet lock. (I myself harbor a special hatred for those contraptions.)

 

Kate reads a stack of pregnancy and child rearing books, including a worst case scenario screed about everything that could possibly go wrong with a pregnancy, no matter how unlikely, which leads Kate to become obsessed with whether her baby would be a hermaphrodite. Surveying the Pringles, Dr. Pepper and snack cakes Angie scatters around the living room, Kate, a corporate VP at a Whole Foods-like supermarket chain, frets over every single item of food Angie consumes, warning her about the consequences of eating junk food while gestating. She brings Angie to child birthing classes before Angie’s baby bump is even showing, leading to an entertaining, on-target lampooning of dogmatic natural birth crusaders who view anything short of natural labor (no drugs) as a self-centered act of immense cruelty. (There’s a scene about an alternative use for using olive oil that’s priceless.)

 

As my friend and I chuckled at the birthing class scenes and Kate’s concerns about what kind of music her unborn child listens to in utero (lest rap music turn her baby into a surly tot), we looked around at the young teenaged girls in the movie theater and wondered if they found Baby Mama as funny as did we, moms who are more like Kate’s sister Caroline (Maura Tierney) – who licks her a brown substance on her pre-schooler’s hand to determine what it is -- than like Kate. But regardless of whether we are more like Kate or Caroline, we could relate to Baby Mama’s goofiness, warmth and light-touch sarcasm. It -- pardon the horrific pun -- delivers.


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