Baby Mama (Universal Pictures, PG-13)

film_baby-mama_sm.jpgFey and Poehler work well as a somewhat uptight businesswoman and her wild, white-trash surrogate.








Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) wants a baby. She’s a wealthy, upwardly mobile single woman who’s spent her entire adult life committed to her career. Now, though, she can feel the clock ticking, and Kate’s willing to do anything necessary to get what she wants.

After months of trying and failing to get pregnant, Kate enlists the help of a surrogacy agency and meets Angie (Amy Poehler), a woman easily her exact opposite. When a gestating Angie leaves her cheating husband Carl (Dax Shepard), Kate gladly takes in the "oven" for her "bun."

When Angie and Kate begin rooming together, their business relationship takes on shades of The Odd Couple. Angie sticks her chewed gum under Kate’s (very valuable) antique table. Kate tries to make Angie take her ginormous pre-natal vitamins. Angie makes Kate skank it up to go clubbing. The two get mistaken for a lesbian couple in birthing class. As it did with Felix and Oscar, hilarity really does ensue.

Baby Mama scores on many levels. It benefits from the comic timing of two Saturday Night Live veterans without actually being one of those crappy SNL movies. Writer/director Michael McCullers has put together a solid comedy that will absolutely make you laugh. And there are no strange, non sequitur scenes of random silliness here. When Angie mounts the bathroom sink to pee, you know exactly why. There’s also a good dose of physical comedy mixed in with the jokes, so if you’ve ever wanted to see Poehler do a headstand or hurl a full trashcan, you’re in luck.

Fey and Poehler work well as a somewhat uptight businesswoman and her wild, white-trash surrogate. These women make an excellent team; they’re like two sides of one funny, slightly deranged coin. Fey will probably never move beyond playing people who are basically her, but I don’t think it matters. She’s engaging, smart and quietly funny; that’s enough to make her totally watchable as long as she continues to pick snappy comedies like Baby Mama.

Poehler is a complete nut as Angie, someone who wants more for herself but has no idea how to get it or how to act if she did. As my mom would say, Angie’s got no home training, but she is well intentioned. If the right material came along, I could see Poehler becoming the new Carol Burnett. She’s all crazy eyes and elastic body, perfect for at least a few more years of physical comedy.

The leads are joined by a solid cast of secondary players. Shepard is pure trashy goodness as Carl. Romany Malco stands out as a frank doorman. Greg Kinnear is sweet and down-to-earth as Kate’s sometime boyfriend. And Steve Martin steals many scenes as Kate’s hippie millionaire boss, Barry. With a long, grey ponytail and goofy new-age adages (e.g., "let me give your baby my mojo"), Martin will make you wish for more of him anywhere you can get it. | Adrienne Jones

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