A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy is both irreverent and candid in dealing with the topics of infertility, pregnancy, and surrogacy (none of which are probably at the top of teens' "funny subjects" list, so there's a chance they won't be interested, despite the presence of Saturday Night Live veterans Tina Fey and Amy Poehler). Characters make fun of a woman's inability to get pregnant, and one treats pregnancy as a big pain. There's some "white trash" stereotyping involved with Poehler's character, but Angie ultimately proves to be a decent soul. Expect some drinking, references to drug use, and a fair amount of swearing (nothing stronger than "s--t") and product placement mixed in with the plentiful laughs.
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What's the story?
BABY MAMA is writer-director Michael McCullers' riotous film about Kate (Tina Fey), a high-powered natural food store exec who can't get pregnant. She's tried everything, including in-vitro fertilization, but her T-shaped uterus is supposedly inhospitable to babies. (One doctor tells her point-blank, "I just don't like your uterus.") So Kate opts for surrogacy, signing up with an elite agency that matches her with spunky Angie (Amy Poehler). Angie's rough around the edges -- she hops on a sink to relieve herself when a childproofed toilet proves too challenging to negotiate -- but she means well, for the most part. One hilarious insemination process later, they're in the mommy business. Or are they?
Is it any good?
Fey and Poehler are a fabulous team -- so fun and funny to watch. Refreshingly un-saccharine even when they participate in the obligatory female bonding moment (playing a karaoke video game, no less), they take a good-enough plot and infuse it with their subversive though still-pleasant humor (they've been working together beautifully for years, and it shows). Fey in particular is ever more able, proving herself to be a comedic genius.
Add Greg Kinnear (more appealing than ever as Kate's from-left field love interest) and Dax Shepard (Angie's clueless-but-comical commonlaw husband) to season the mix. Then, top it off with Steve Martin as the self-aggrandizing, name-dropping, ponytailed tree-hugging CEO of Kate's company ("I am a great man, and great men do great things," he intones) and Sigourney Weaver as the blithely insensitive surrogacy-center owner -- who's compelled to boast about her own body's amazing ability to get pregnant despite being in her 50s -- and you have a winner. There's even some insight into the class wars as they play out in the organic foods-versus-junk food realm, as well as a dash of real poignancy in how much Kate craves a baby. So what if it's predictable? Bottom line: Brilliant? No. But laugh-out-loud funny? Definitely.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about who this movie's target audience is. Is it teens? Older women with children? How can you tell? How is the movie different from most comedies aimed at women? Families can also discuss surrogacy. Why does it seem like such a controversial subject? How were the filmmakers able to mine it for humor? Also, do you think the movie is making any specific points about the "class war"? What do Kate and Angie have in common? How are they different?
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