‘Baby Mama’ pushes too hard to deliver laughs

Katie Young

Courtesy Universal Pictures

Credit: Ron Soltys

Baby Mama

Starring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinner, Steve Martin

Directed by Michael McCullers

Distributed by Universal Pictures

Stater rating (out of five): ***

When looking for a movie to go see this weekend, please don’t go to see Baby Mama if you’re expecting much more than a surface level, dumb comedy.

While stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have great chemistry, writer and director Michael McCullers throws both veteran actors off their game with his awkward script.

The contrived story goes as follows: obscenely successful and single businesswoman, Kate (Fey), realizes her biological clock is ticking. After finding out she can’t conceive, Kate hires Angie (Poehler), a scheming underachiever with white trash charm, to have her baby for her. Hilarity ensues. Almost.

The film definitely has its funny moments, mostly between Fey and Poehler. The two obviously know how to play off each other from their time together at the “Weekend Update” desk. However, the duo doesn’t venture far from their stereotypical roles. Fey nails the uptight smart aleck. (Not a far departure from her “30 Rock” character. Blerg!) Poehler channels her myriad “SNL” characters and combines them into one hilariously out of touch white chick.

The film also has notable performances from Greg Kinnear and Steve Martin. Kinnear plays his usual down-on-his-luck good guy, but provides some genuinely funny one-liners. Martin, as Fey’s boss at a health food grocery chain, toes the line of comedy and all-around weirdness. Fortunately for Martin, it works.

But not even big name stars and top comedians can save a poorly written script. Michael McCullers’ career embodies the good (Austin Powers), the bad (Austin Powers 2) and the ugly (Undercover Brother). Unfortunately, Baby Mama falls in between the good and the bad. McCullers’ ridiculous situations work in films like Austin Powers, but for a more “realistic” movie like Baby Mama, they simply fall flat and leave the viewer feeling awkward.

While Baby Mama was good for a few laughs, it’s not exactly worth the price of admission.

Contact all reporter Katie Young at [email protected].