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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Gestation Assistant

Baby Mama (2008) on IMDb

Plot Overview

business womanCareer woman Kate Holbrook (Tina Fey) chose profession over family (“I made a choice,”) and now at age thirty-seven her baby alarm has gone off. Desperate to make up for lost time, she can't seem to get a guy with­out scaring him off. Adoption would take too long, and her uterus is too old to lodge donated sperm. She bewails her situation at a family meal, and her mother Rose (Holland Taylor) blames her for having chosen an “alternative life­style.” It being 2008 and Rose having been 30 when she had Kate, that would mean Rose was born in 1940 or '41 (“Times were different then.”) For her generation single, career women were the exception not the norm. She wouldn't object to adoption, how­ever, just, “Please, Kate, don't get a black baby.” Kate's sister Caroline (Maura Tierney) is more modern and suggests contracting a surrogate.

Liberty BellAt a directors meeting of Round Earth Organic Market we see the board of white men seated at the table with CEO Barry (Steve Martin) at the head, and Kate down at the bottom. This would be the traditional arrangement Rose would expect to see. The camera shifts to reveal a black man up near the top, moving up the ladder of success, we suppose, as is more contemporary. In a comic twist Barry announces their new VP of Development to be Kate, and he does a mind-meld with her at the bottom of the table (“This is me trans­fer­ring my success to you.”) The camera's new perspective puts the black man now at the bottom of the pack. Further­more, their new Philly store is not to inter­fere with historic designations. And finally the only black man in the plot is one Oscar (Romany Malko) Kate's building's door­man who does traditional menial labor such as parking cars, opening doors, announcing visitors, and carrying packages. This dealing cards from the bottom of the deck forms the comedic basis of the parallel plot of messy surrogacy where fate intervenes to make a traditional track seem like the intrusion into modernity. Further­more, a happy Oscar presages a happy out­come that the older generation Rose can abide, making it a happy-ending movie after getting there through unlikely kismet and a deus-ex-machina to unravel the royal mess they found them­selves in. It's reminiscent of a Michael Raleigh novel where:

The bartender … looked like a happy Viking.

“It's all right. It's hard to notice the real world when this is happening.” Whelan nodded toward the TV.

The bartender chuckled. “Sweeping the Mets at Shea. Yeah, who woulda thunk it?”

Whelan nodded. “My grandmother used to say the world would come to an end when a lot of strange things started happening, so if the Cubs sweep, I think the world is going to hit an asteroid.” (181–2)

An Alternate Ending and a lot of Deleted Scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, so granny won't think this movie portends the end of the world. What remains is still a stretch but makes good comedy.


What we have is a drama dealing with mama bear ignoring family development on account of her work. In an earlier age it was expressed in masculine terms:

Psalm 127 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Here's a picture of a man who works as a carpenter during the day and as a watch­man by night. He's not getting adequate sleep and he's neglecting his family. God is not requiring him to work two jobs like that, and he's forgotten to invest in children who can yield long term benefits.

In “Baby Mama” Kate a new VP of Development has been tasked with locating and constructing a flag­ship store in the city. On top of that she's in charge of Community Outreach to promote it, giving away samples of the merchandise so the local low-lifes don't steal it (“Our gift to you.”) On top of all that, she now has to put up her sur­ro­gate mother-to-be Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler) in her pad turned into a pied-à-terre for her and attend her birthing classes. This has left her stretched so thin Barry waiting at the site remarks, “Forty-five minutes late. This isn't like you.” She replies, “I'm sorry, Barry. I'm just a little out of whack today.”

babyA good example of high family priorities was set by Chaffee Bicknell (Sigourney Weaver) the professional arranger who has a growing family (“Expecting again”) the natural way. Her brood increases her creds in the community.

Production Values

” (2008) was written and directed by Michael McCullers. It stars Tina Fey, Greg Kinnear, Dax Shepard, Amy Poehler, and Sigourney Weaver. Fey was fantastic. Poehler was passable. Dax was delightful. Weaver was dreamy. And Steve Martin exceeded expectations for his small role. It had a great cast.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for crude and sexual humor, language and a drug reference. The movie played the odd couple motif to the hilt. The music was spirited.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Michael McCullers and Tina Fey came from a background with Saturday Night Live and Steve Martin from a broad back­ground in standup comedy. Since I've never seen a single episode of SNL—I don't even own a TV—a lot of the endemic humor in “Baby Mama” escaped me. Never­the­less, I found it cute and amusing though I wasn't all that prepared to be jerked around. A properly targeted audience will appreciate it more, a less adaptable viewer not so much.

Movie Ratings

Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Raleigh, Michael. A Body in Belmont Harbor. Copyright © 1993 by Michael Raleigh. New York: Diversion Books, 2015. Print.