A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nasty Baby centers on an unconventional "family" composed of three friends -- a single woman, her gay best friend, and his longtime partner -- who are trying to have a baby via artificial insemination. Their struggle to conceive is central to the plot, but little sex is actually shown -- though a few sex acts (masturbation, hand jobs, etc.) are simulated, and there's a brief graphic shot of male and female genitalia in an art gallery. The main characters swear very frequently; words heard include "motherf--ker," "s--t," and "c--k," as well as gay slurs like "f----t." There's also some social drinking, cigarette smoking, and drug use (pot).
What's the story?
Heterosexual nurse Polly (Kristen Wiig) and gay artist Freddy (Sebastian Silva) have been best friends for years. And for the past five months, they've been trying to have a baby via monthly home inseminations involving Freddy's sperm and a handy DIY kit that Polly carries around in her purse, prompting Freddy to launch an experimental art project called "Nasty Baby," which captures him and his friends acting like infants on camera. The friends' shared baby quest hits a roadblock when they learn that Freddy's sperm count is hopelessly low, so they turn to Freddy's ever-sensible partner, Mo (Tunde Adebimpe), who declines at first but eventually agrees to be the new donor. At that point, the threesome's future looks bright ... until an emotionally unpredictable neighbor known as "The Bishop" (Reg E. Cathey) throws a kink in their family planning.
Is it any good?
Though he calls it a comedy, actor/director Silva's unexpectedly dark take on 21st-century babymaking is about as funny as a funeral. (Spoiler alert: Somebody dies. And, boy, do they ever.) So we're calling it a drama -- and warning those who might have been hoping for a quirky look at infertility in an era of advanced reproductive technology and relaxed “rules” when it comes to family planning that they're in for a jarring surprise. It's called NASTY BABY for a reason.
It goes without saying that this offbeat movie is an inappropriate choice for kids, considering its characters are faced with decidedly adult problems, from tracking ovulation cycles to discreetly disposing of a dead body. But it's an equally tough sell for adults thanks to aimless dialogue, jerky camera movements, and a random plot twist in the film's final act that leaves you wondering what the heck you just watched. Silva's fans will call it "intriguing," and in some ways they're right. But for most of us, it's like a bloody, rambling mess.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Nasty Baby's depiction of a modern urban "family." How do these friends compare to the families you know, and how do their struggles to conceive differ from those of traditional couples? How has the definition of family changed in recent years?
How do Nasty Baby's main characters measure up as role models, both before and after "the incident" that changes everything? Was Freddy justified in his actions, and how do you judge the others who helped him cover it up? How will the threesome fare as parents now that they share a grizzly secret?
Is Nasty Baby a comedy, a drama, a thriller, or something altogether different? What tools does the director use to shift the tone over the course of the film, and, more importantly, does the tonal shift work? What role does violence play in the movie?
- In theaters: October 23, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: December 22, 2015
- Cast: Kristen Wiig, Sebastian Silva, Tunde Adebimpe
- Director: Sebastian Silva
- Studio: The Orchard
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, some disturbing violence, language, drug use and graphic nude images
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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