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Published March 19th, 2008 | by Mike Barnard

Baby Mama Review

Classification: 12 Director: Michael McCullers Rating: 2/5

A ticking biological clock and a surrogate mother form the story of Baby Mama, a comedy high on stars but low on laughs. Tina Fey plays Kate, a 37-year-old suddenly aware her time to be a mother is running out. Having devoted her life to a job she loves and financial security, she’s ignored her maternal instincts completely. When she finds she’s only got a million-to-one chance of getting pregnant, she starts the hunt for a surrogate mother and winds up with uncouth Southern Philadelphia working girl Angie (Poehler) who creates more problems than the one she seeks to solve.

Baby Mama has all the hallmarks of an elaborate Desperate Housewife-style plot where Kate is a lonely woman trying to reconcile her desire to complete her otherwise perfectly-controlled life by having a baby and bringing mayhem to her otherwise dull existence. Angie’s arrival on the scene is supposed to be the source of mismatched comedy as she brings with her a brash approach to life which ruins Kate’s perfect pregnancy plan, and sees Angie forced to move in with Kate, but writer/director McCullers fails make the most of the set up.

As Kate battles with Angie’s complete disregard for a looking after her unborn child by smoking, eating junk food and drinking while generally creating mess around the home, it becomes clear Baby Mama is essentially an odd couple act: the clean and diligent Kate and the airhead Angie must eventually learn to understand and trust each other. Fey and Poehler, both Saturday Night Live stars, work well with the middling material, giving their all the physical side, but when it comes to the dialogue, there’s no new ground broken if you’ve seen any US sitcoms from the last 10 years.

Beyond the two leads, Baby Mama boast a strong supporting cast mostly wasted. Kate’s new-age hippie boss played by Steve Martin seems intent to steal the few scenes he is in despite having essentially one joke about liking Kate’s aura so much he promoted her to Vice President, while Greg Kinnear provides a weak love interest as a smoothie shop owner. Only Sigourney Weaver’s brief appearances as the steely head of Kate’s surrogacy centre and a typically loud performance from Dax Shephard bring a buzz of life to the screen. Baby Mama is an inoffensive comic vehicle for Fey and Poehler which takes few chances with its potential audience and falls flat as a result.

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