In an episode of the TV show Sex and the City, a character says, “Chick flicks. Whoever came up with that idea should have his b***s cut off.” Now, that’s kind of extreme and quite visual, but I share the sentiment. Only a man could come up with that term and think it’s okay.
Even so, the term is so widely accepted that there is a whole genre of books with the same premise. Only, that genre is called “chick lit,” an equally despicable term. However, as a “chick,” I do appreciate the films and novels the term often describes.
Lately, the “chick films” have been kind of sparse and more about being a bride or falling in love. They’re all about catching the man. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s been a while since a movie has been released that was more about women having fun and letting men be second on the agenda. Then, Tina Fey came along.
Tina Fey, the first female head writer on Saturday Night Live, and a star on a very comical show called 30 Rock, is a celebrated woman in Hollywood right now. Whatever she writes seems to turn into screen gold. So, it’s no surprise that when she decided to produce and star in a movie that was written and directed by Michael McCullers, I was excited to see what this little movie would be about. I am delighted to report that the classic “chick flick” has arrived, and it’s quite funny.
In Baby Mama, Fey plays Kate, a successful vice president of a whole foods market company. Kate has it all; a great job, great clothes and a great apartment with a door man. All she needs to complete her life is a child with whom to share it.
At 37, she’s decided not to wait on a man to have children. After ruling out adoption and natural pregnancy, Kate decides to get a surrogate to have her baby. She enlists the help of a surrogate agency and plucks the first mommy-to-be that comes her way. Angie, played by SNL cast member Amy Poehler, is a “trailer trash” type woman with a “husband” who’s even trashier.
As the hijinks of Kate’s anal retentive personality clashing with Angie’s trashiness ensue, the movie gets funnier and funnier. Of course, the credit cannot go to just Fey and Poehler, who are best friends off the screen.
Romany Malco of Weeds fame keeps the plot moving as the doorman who knows everything that’s going on, and always finds a comical way to tell the audience and the characters about themselves. Sigourney Weaver is the president of the surrogate agency and a mom-to-be in her 50s who plays the buffer between the clashing Kate and Angie.
Greg Kinnear plays Rob, Kate’s perfect and opinionated love interest (in a quite realistic portrayal of how real relationships blossom.) Dax Shepard plays Angie’s dolt of a boyfriend who’s been around for so long he and Angie think of themselves as married. Maura Tierney, from ER, does a surprise turn as Kate’s younger sister/baby factory who doles out child rearing advice to Kate like only a mommy can. In a “mommy dearest” role similar to the one she plays on the TV show Two and Half Men, Holland Taylor plays Kate’s “can’t speak without insulting someone” mother.
My feelings about the term notwithstanding, this “chick flick” is a must see among women. Kate’s relationship with Rob seems more of a subplot – which effectively removes the “older woman trying to find a man to fulfill her desperation’’ from the equation.
Instead, she’s trying to find a baby to do those things. If you think about it, that still makes Kate needy, but it’s nice to see a woman be needy about something other than a man. Most men would probably have to be dragged to the theaters to see Baby Mama, but once they get there, they’ll be glad they came. I know I was.
Photo: Tina Fey