Baby Mama

3 out of 5 stars

As a recent Vanity Fair cover had to remind us, women are funny—never mind that this is the same magazine that also published Christopher Hitchens’s crazy screed to the contrary. Ladies bring the laughs, and none more so than Tina Fey, who seems our only hope in burning down the frat house of Apatovian douche bags.

If anyone could sharply puncture the cult of sanctimommy and the obscene amounts of money thrown at parenting—some of the targets of Baby Mama—it would be Fey, whose razor-sharp cultural critiques on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock are among the best in the history of the small screen. But Fey—whose screenplay for 2004’s Mean Girls was likewise smart and keenly observed—did not write the script for Baby Mama; her former SNL colleague Michael McCullers, here making his directorial debut, did.

Not that there aren’t plenty of spot-on spoofs in this story of the awkward friendship between Kate (Fey), a single, infertile, upscale organic-foods executive who hires trashy Angie (Poehler) to carry the baby she so desperately wants. The specifics of class clash are particularly inspired: “There’s a new ginger body splash I’ve been dying to try,” Kate enthuses to a bewildered Angie before a night of clubbing. Poehler, as anyone who’s seen her one-legged Amber on SNL knows, excels at portraying tough, self-admiring lower-class white girls. But had Fey written the script, would the ending have been such a cop-out? I bet at least one infant would have been clad in a diaper thong.


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