Historiann.com reader and commenter ej writes in with some thoughts on the new movie, Baby Mama: “I think Historiann should tackle the topic of women of a certain age not being able to get pregnant. I love Tina Fey, but I’m so tired of the media perpetuating this myth that women who wait ‘too long’ to have a baby, usually because they’re busy pursuing their careers, find themselves s.o.l. when their biological clock stops ticking. This is nonsense. I was after 35 when I got pregnant, and both attempts were successful on the first or second try. Other friends who are my age hit the jackpot on the second try. Not to mention that fact that infertility studies have proven that 40% of cases are the result of the man, but no one makes a movie about that!” (When you think about it, movies about male infertility promise to be so much funnier than movies about female infertility! All of those spank mags and masturbation jokes, y’know. Speculums? Not teh funny.)
I think ej’s right that the “ZOMG I forgot to have children and now it’s too late because I’m not 29 anymore” plot is a little played out, and actually not true. (Then again, Seth Rogen having a chance with anyone who looks anything like Katherine Heigel? Not true, either! It’s only in the movies that men who look like Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Rogen have any kind of sex life at all.) Given the fact that the modern movie industry is designed to cater to the warped fantasy life of 14-28 year old boys and men, I’m inclined to give this movie the benefit of the doubt, mostly because it promises to be something we haven’t seen a lot of lately–an actual female buddy movie that doesn’t end in a suicide pact! There are so few decent roles for women actors that don’t relegate them to the male lead’s wife or girlfriend these days, let alone a movie starring TWO FUNNY WOMEN, without the Judd Apatow the-(female) hottie-and-the-(male, undeserving) nottie plot.
Another thing to like about Baby Mama: In an interview with Amy Poehler in Salon last week, she affirmed in no uncertain terms that “absolutely I am!” a feminist. Salon‘s review of the movie was blandly positive, calling it an “essentially sweet-natured picture that doesn’t go as far as it could in satirizing both our child-centric culture and the fact that, now that there are so many scientific advances to help people conceive and bear children, sometimes the basic desire to have a baby can turn into a desperation bordering on mania.” The New Yorker’s review was similar, although it did feature this strikingly odd passage:
Angie [Poehler] is skinny to Kate’s [Fey's] curves, loose-tongued to her zipped-up sense of fun, fertile to her barren jealousy. Angie wears pedal pushers and tank tops, whereas Kate stalks around bare-legged in skirts that lurch to a halt two inches above the knee, which is a length that Christy Turlington would struggle to carry off. It’s possible that Fey, like other television stars, is unused to being framed in full length, and, though in complete command of her delivery—dry, spiky, but unthreatening—she hasn’t yet made up her mind how funny her body is meant to be. She isn’t big enough to make a joke of her ripeness, like Bette Midler, but she’s no Lily Tomlin, either. She could do worse than steal a trick from Lucille Ball—a lovely, elegant figure who taught herself to be graceless.
Is Anthony Lane actually suggesting that Tina Fey is zaftig? Oh, no he di’nt. Reading this review is like shopping at Barney’s, the store that unfailingly makes me feel fat and poor. (And did he really write the phrase, “fertile to her barren jealousy?” Hmmm. Standards really have slipped, haven’t they? Is no one, you know, editing the magazine any more?) Comme toujours, Jezebel has a comprehensive roundup of reviews.
Have any of you seen Baby Mama yet? I haven’t had the pleasure, but may have to make a point of getting out one of these days to see it. (What do you say, ej–shall we take in a matinee?)