Lindsay Lohan hasn’t exactly been cashing in at the box office lately. Her films leave as quickly as they come in and with her life splattered all over the tabloids, it seems that the general public doesn’t care to take in whatever acting job she’s last completed. With such high-profile turn downs as the recent smash hit The Hangover, it’s no wonder that her latest film went straight to TV and then to home video a few weeks later. While fans no doubt hope that her career will take an upswing, the general public seems to not want much to do with her, as the general reaction to her most recent film, Labor Pains has been less than kind.
Thea (Lindsay Lohan) is stuck in a dead-end job that she can’t afford to lose. To stay employed, she fakes a pregnancy, and now she’s milking her one big lie for everything it’s worth. But faking this pregnancy is going to make giving birth look easy. Chris Parnell, Cheryl Hines and Aaron Yoo (Friday the 13th, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Wackness) also star in this hilarious comedy.
So…yeah. This movie really happened and if, for some reason, you feel like you’re watching the Amy Poehler child carrying half of Baby Mama…well, you kind of are. Thea lies about being pregnant and, as can be expected from a film of this type, is eventually found out and her life comes crashing down around her, etc. etc. This isn’t a surprising outcome to the story (neither is the final outcome of the story which…well, it ends like Baby Mama, let me put it that way) and there just isn’t anything remotely original about this film. At the very least it will feel like a high-production made-for-TV movie, considering it does at least feel like a feature film…although I can imagine that they edited it down for TV still.
It’s kind of hard to completely hate on this film as there is some genuinely entertaining talent to be had here. Chris Parnell is always funny, Aaron Yoo is fun to watch even in small roles like these and Cheryl Hines is absolutely hilarious wherever she shows up (in an understated kind of way that is). Lohan herself is even quite likeable as an actress, as she does seem to sport some genuine ability…we just never see it because she’s too busy being smeared all over the tabloids. In a sense the film isn’t a total waste if you feel like watching a generic romantic comedy, but you’d have to be really hard up to have to pick this one up.
It’s weird to look at the cover to this film even, as it looks nearly identical to the one sheet for when this was going to be released theatrically. There’s no critics quotes, there’s nothing but a title and Lohan’s name. The rear cover doesn’t sport much either, but then again this is a First Look Studios release—quite often their releases are of things we’ve never heard of anyway.
There’s so little story to be had in this eighty-nine minute film that there just isn’t much to talk about. Lohan’s relationship with Nick is obvious from the beginning and the fact they eventually make up and stay together isn’t a huge surprise either. Really, it’s just a by-the-books flick that isn’t necessarily horrible in any real way…it’s just kind of an odd mixture, as it seems to target family like audiences while simultaneously being a great deal edgier and saltier with its language than is to be expected. There are some moments to be had, but most of those are already given in the trailer released for the film, so even then you aren’t going to see much new here.
Overall Labor Pains is a very predictable and…well, that’s it really. It’s hard to be disappointed by something that looks and sounds so horrible from the start and while I did find myself laughing a couple times, it was only just that. As I said, you can find a similar and much more well scripted and likeable story with Baby Mama – this film, in the end, is just about a girl who can’t afford to lose her job and lies because of it. “Hilarious” premise, I’m sure, but…honestly, you’d be better off just catching the TV airing of this one. Skip It.
I cry sometimes when I see films like this receive Blu-ray treatment. Why, exactly, does this get a Blu-ray release when other films struggle to get on the format? Simply unfair. As is the film arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray case devoid of any inserts and plain disc art. Video arrives in the form of a VC-1 encoded 1.85:1 ratio, although I swear it looks closer to 1.78:1 (wouldn’t be the first time First Look got something wrong on their packaging) that is surprisingly…disappointing, especially for a modern film. The color levels are the main problem, with the blacks not particularly dark and nothing ever really popping off of the screen. It looks about as much effort went into the video as the script did.
Audio is a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix that may as well just stick to stereo, as the times the rear channels actually wake up is severely limited and LFE output was near zilch. Again, not surprising and not disappointing…this is a straight to video Lindsay Lohan feature we’re talking about, after all.
Included is a obligatory Making of Featurette that is very by-the-books and a set of Cast Interviews that are mildly entertaining just because they try so hard to talk about the film in a positive light. Some Production Stills are included as well, but…will you really look at those? No, no you won’t.
Overall a release you can Skip. The Blu-ray makes no effort to even be worth watching as the transfer of the video and audio is so disappointing and the extras definitely aren’t worth your time. Wait for a rerun or for this to be a filler title you can throw away next time there’s a Buy 3, Get 1 sale at the local video store.
Labor Pains is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.