Reviewed by Ian Forbes, Sobering Conclusion
Infertility can be a touchy subject. It often imbues people with hurt feelings and insecurities when it comes to creating their own little ‘Mini-Me’. It also gives director Jay Chandrasekhar the opportunity to provide fans a very funny comedy while also delivering a heartfelt story centered around good performances from Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn.
The set-up for The Babymakers is a simple one but smaller comedies like this are often ruined by over complicating matters. In the film, Schneider and Munn are having difficulty conceiving and eventually determine it’s his swimmers that aren’t doing the job. While exploring all of their options, Schneider learns he still has one vial of his DNA frozen in a sperm bank and it’s up to him, his friends, and a hired thief (Chandrasekhar) to pull off the heist. Hijinks do actually ensue.
For fans of Broken Lizard films (Super Troopers, Beerfest, etc.), know that this isn’t exactly another movie in that canon. Yes, Kevin Heffernan also joins Chandrasekhar in the film but the other three central members of the comedy troupe were not involved. The jokes are still very much reminiscent and akin to those films though, it’s just that in this film there is also a core story that drives the plot.
To that end, and as alluded to earlier, Paul Schneider was the perfect choice to front this movie. He has such a wonderful ability to be vulnerable when it comes to dramatic work but has great comedic timing and was able to make the very funny script feel real and present. Working as his partner in crime is Olivia Munn, in her first lead role in a feature. Many know her best as a former host of Attack of the Show on G4 and I knew she’d be great when it came to the jokes but was pleasantly surprised at the sincerity she brought to the dramatic moments. She has nice presence on-screen and shares a good chemistry with Schneider.
Back to how the film works in the joke department, there are definitely a number of laugh out loud moments and performances. Chandrasekhar not only delivers a very funny take on a criminal-for-hire but is joined by actors he’s worked with on previous films like Heffernan, Nat Faxon, and Philippe Brenninkmeyer. Audiences who know their work will enjoy their inclusion, as well as the rest of the cast; all fine comedy performers themselves.
The bottom line is that Chandrasekhar, the writers (Peter Gaulke & Gerry Swallow), and the cast have executed a rarity in this age of Judd Apatow domination: a romantic comedy that’s grounded in reality but can explore raunchier and outlandish concepts without breaking your connection to the film. The Babymakers does feel a bit raw at times and there are a few pacing issues but it’s a smart take on a sensitive subject that’s unafraid to go for it all.
The Babymakers hits theaters on August 3, 2012 and is rated R for crude and sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use.