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Baby Done - Movie Review

Baby Done

Whether it’s the hard-life consequences of a drunken one-night stand in Apatow’s raunch-com Knocked Up, or following the hilarious exploits of an independent-minded teenager forced to confront the realities of motherhood in Reitman’s Juno, there’s always plenty of cinematic comedy gold to be mined from pregnancy.

I mean, what’s not to laugh at when imagining a pregnant woman’s water breaking on Robert DeNiro’s shoes or Home Skillet finding potential adoptive parents in the Penny Saver next to the exotic birds?

"feels more like a watered down network sitcom episode playing it cute and safe, than it does the fresh look at pregnancy and parenthood it hopes to be"


But what happens when the “we’re having a baby” genre goes down under and gets the Kiwi spin? In the case of Baby Done, the new film executive-produced by Taika Waititi (JoJo Rabbit) and starring New Zealand comedian/actress Rose Matafeo, we’re left severely underwhelmed by its one joke premise and flailing attempts at hitting us in the feels with emotions that never feel genuine.

Zoe (Matafeo) and her partner Tim (Matthew Lewis, Harry Potter’s Neville Longbottom) run a tree-topping business in Auckland, New Zealand. When Zoe's unexpected pregnancy sends the couple into a new phase of their relationship, Zoe and Tim struggle with the fact that they never got around to doing any of the things on their bucket list, including bungee jumping, doing drugs, having a threesome, and traveling to Canada to compete in the World Tree Climbing Championships.

Husband and wife team, director Curtis Vowell (Fantail) and screenwriter Sophie Henderson (Fantail), admirably turn the genre on its head by presenting Zoe as the immature one – she’s called “a baby having a baby,” by best friend Molly (Emily Barclay, TV’s Sisters), while Tim becomes the overly cautious father who attempts to put a halt to Zoe’s bucket list shenanigans.

However, despite a valiant effort by each of the leads, Henderson and Vowell have a difficult time stretching their single joke to feature length. As a result, most of the jokes are more corny than clever, and Zoe’s shift from clueless future mother to hateful jerk grows thin by the halfway point. The same goes for the string of endless scenarios in the film’s setup that attempt to show Zoe and Tim’s disdain for parenthood by demeaning their friends who become parents. Zoe is more hateful than likable, while Tim is more pitiful than supportive.Baby Done

As for improvisational timing and physical comedy, Matafeo is certainly up to the task and more than knows her way around a joke or the canopy of a Live Oak tree. But despite her most valiant efforts, the half-samoan half-European is never quite able to carry the film’s weight. Or better put, the thin script doesn’t ask for the right things from her. If you’ve seen any of her acts on Youtube, you understand.

A couple of awkward side plots, one involving a preggophile (I guess that’s a thing?) who hooks up with Zoe so he can feel her pregnant belly, and another where she impersonates the mother of a college-aged co-worker aren’t particularly funny yet get a little too much screen time.

That’s not to say there aren’t some moments of hilarity in Baby Done. There are. Particularly during a hotel room threesome. But those are too few and too far between to keep the good vibes going. As a result, the entire presentation feels more like a watered down network sitcom episode playing it cute and safe, than it does the fresh look at pregnancy and parenthood it hopes to be.

Baby Done is now available on streaming platforms beginning January 22, 2021 in the U.S.

2/5 stars

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

Screen Formats:
Subtitles
:
Audio:

Discs:
Region Encoding:

Film Details

Baby Done

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Curtis Vowell
Writer:
Sophie Henderson
Cast:
Rose Matafeo, Matthew Lewis, Emily Barclay
Genre
: Comedy
Tagline:
Growing a baby doesn't mean growing up.
Memorable Movie Quote: "It's very hard to find a single woman with a bonus in her belly."
Theatrical Distributor:
Pacific Northwest Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 22, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Wannabe-adventurer Zoe freaks out when she falls pregnant to her long-term boyfriend Tim. As Tim embraces the prospect of fatherhood, Zoe attempts to rush through her dreams.

 

Art

Baby Done

 

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