Given her popularity on the small screen, notably through the under-appreciated gem 30 Rock, it was only a matter of time until Tina Fey landed herself a credible starring role on the big screen and, thankfully, Baby Mama is just that. Now, the material may not be as sharp as her work on the small screen, but it managed to be a respectable outing for the bespectacled funny-woman. Placed alongside Amy Poehler, Fey takes what’s essentially her small-screen persona and puts it on the big screen. What results is a comedy that is more pleasing than expected, if a bit predictable, and one definitely worth a spin. More details will follow once we get the synopsis out of the way.
In a comedy that brings together some of today’s sharpest talent, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler team with writer/director Michael McCullers and producers Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn to tell the story of two women, one apartment and the nine months that will change their lives: Baby Mama. Successful and single businesswoman Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) has long put her career ahead of a personal life. Now 37, she’s finally determined to have a kid on her own. But her plan is thrown a curve ball after she discovers she has only a million-to-one chance of getting pregnant. Undaunted, the driven Kate allows South Philly working girl Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler) to become her unlikely surrogate. An unstoppable force meets an immovable object as structured Kate tries to turn vibrant Angie into the perfect expectant mom. In a comic battle of wills, they will struggle their way through preparation for the baby’s arrival. And in the middle of this tug-of-war, they’ll discover two kinds of family: the one you’re born to and the one you make.
Now, while a good movie, Baby Mama isn’t on the level of 30 Rock in terms of Fey’s notably brilliant comedy. No, no. It’s a bit lower-based and not as subtle, but, at the end, it’s actually funny and a very solid movie. Again, it’s predictable, but it’s still a movie that’s fun to watch and, with the abundance of cameos and character appearances, it never really gets tired. However, this is a very light movie. The concept is incredibly simple, even with the somewhat forced complications presented later on in the movie, and it’s a rather breezy watch. It won’t stay with you nor will make any real impression, but I suppose that’s not entirely a bad thing. It’s a good movie, yes, and the perfect one for a Saturday night, but beyond the gags replayed ad nauseum in every advertisement, no jokes really have that power to stay. Yet, they’re still solid and worth checking out again.
It goes without saying that Tina Fey is great in the movie. Playing it much like her character from 30 Rock, Fey brings her sense of perfect comic timing and delivery to Baby Mama which helps save it. I am certain that if it was any other actress, this movie wouldn’t have been the hit it was. As one can expect from the synopsis provided above, it’s a flighty comedy, but damn if Poehler and Fey don’t make it work somehow. I won’t say the plot is the most predictable or original by any means, but, somehow, they do manage to make it work just as well. Ever the ridiculously happy ending doesn’t feel all that out of place. However, even with all the cameos and such, this movie is essentially a buddy comedy between Poehler and Fey where they get to riff off each other and just have a helluva fun time.
Poehler plays her character as if she was a character straight out of Saturday Night Live. She’s energetic, brass, a bit of a dunce, and completely improper. However, toward the end of the movie, we do get to see a softer side of the character that’s actually completely believe-able. Fey plays her character pretty much identical to her character from 30 Rock, which isn’t a bad thing. She comes across as an every-woman, completely identifiable in every way, and just as vulnerable. She has real character and comes across as a real person. Whether it’s her use of subtle humor, or the perfect dialogue at the right moment, she hits all the right notes. Now, her and Poehler together? Easily worth picking up this movie to own.
Overall, Baby Mama is a fun, cute movie that, while not as sharp as 30 Rock, it’s still one of the better comedies of the year. I know I didn’t give too much away, save for the official synopsis of the movie above, this movie does suffer from being predictable, but, in the end, and in all honesty, you’re not seeing this movie for the plot. Nope, you’re seeing it primarily for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and, I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. This movie comes Recommended, and has definite rewatchability. Baby Mama is a great showcase for Fey Poehler, although not the perfect one, but it does make me hope to see these two pair up for more big screen flicks.
Universal Home Entertainment has released Baby Mama in a standard Amaray case, no insert, and on a flip-disc. The audio is as perfect as it can be for this type of release, with dialogue coming out crisp and clear, mostly from the front speakers. A solid audio transfer, but, however, the video could be better. The transfer is a bit dull and soft, but for this type of movie, it actually doesn’t detract that much from the movie. The video could have been better, but it doesn’t take away from the viewing experience in any detrimental way.
In terms of extra, Universal Home Entertainment gives a pretty thorough package. First up is the audio commentary featuring Fey, Poehler, writer/director Michael McCullers and producer Lorne Michaels. It’s a solid commentary, one both funny and informative. There’s a great bit involving the inclusion of a song that results in a hilarious response from Fey. The other extras include an alternate ending, which really doesn’t change ending and, yes, it’s just as fluffy and happy as the ending we get in the theatrical cut. The deleted scenes are simply excellent and worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the movie. There’s a brief featurette on Fey and Poehler’s history with Saturday Night that rounds out the first side of the disc. The second side includes the aforementioned audio commentary and an extra making-of featurette called “From Conception to Delivery: The Making of Baby Mama.
Overall, it’s a great movie and a worthy DVD release. Baby Mama, while not the most original comedy, manages to soar on the solid chemistry between Fey and Poehler. It’s a fun movie, very light, and, personally, has definite rewatchability. It’s a solid, but fluffy, movie. Thankfully, it manages to feel like an actual movie and not a padded out Saturday Night Live sketch. The DVD has a fine amount of extras that fans of movie should really enjoy. Baby Mama features hilarious performances by the main leads and a movie well worth spending time with.
Baby Mama is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.