Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear
Directed by: Michael McCullers (debut)
Written by: Michael McCullers (“Austin Powers in Goldmember”)
If anyone can make being dorky sexy it’s actress/writer Tina Fey. The former “Saturday Nigh Live” star returns to the big screen for the first time in “Baby Mama” (we won’t hold her cameo in “Beer League” against her) since the 2004 comedy “Mean Girls,” which she also wrote.
Taking the helm as the screenwriter and first-time director is Michael McCullers, who worked on “SNL” as a writer during the 1997-1998 season. This was at the same time Fey jumped on board as one of the shows sketch writers.
In “Baby Mama,” Fey plays Kate Holbrook, a successful businesswoman who finds out she is unable to have children just as soon as her biological clock begins ticking. Actually, the ticking is more like manic banging as Kate decides to do anything she can to have a child before all her eggs dry up.
Putting all her faith in surrogacy, Kate welcomes Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler) into her life as the woman who will carry her baby to full term. The film takes a turn towards something like “The Odd Couple” when Angie, who is only participating in the miracle of birth for the money, breaks up with her boyfriend and moves into Kate’s apartment.
In a wave of predictability, “Baby Mama” turns pregnancy into drudgery when all we really want is some type of comedic elements that are a bit sharper than McCullers is able to deliver. While Fey drops some nice one-liners (“My avatar’s dressed like a whore!”) and a small role by Steve Martin proves he has a bit more to give the genre than “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “Pink Panther” sequels, there’s a disappointing air lingering throughout the film mostly brought on by Poehler’s caricature role and McCullers’ inconsistent humor.