It’s 2 a.m. and you awake with a jerk, alone in your fully lit apartment and still on the couch. On TV, the credits of some movie you’ve already seen a billion times are scrolling by. It feels like rock bottom. And we know, because we’re just like you: single.
Need a movie to keep you company until you literally can’t keep your eyes open? Join us tonight when we pass out to Baby Mama [starting @ 10 p.m. on HBO Signature]
Why we’ll try to stay up and watch it: While our crush on Tina Fey shows no sign of diminishing, even we would admit that to call her range “limited” would be something of a compliment. Ms. Fey has found her niche—the single, career-driven, nerd girl—and she’ll happily continue to perform variations on that theme until audiences get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. However, based on the successes of 30 Rock and Baby Mama, plus her upcoming, sure–to–be–box-office hits (Date Night with Steve Carell; The Invention of Lying with Ricky Gervais), she won’t have to worry about that fatigue setting in for quite some time.
When the book is written on Ms. Fey, Baby Mama will probably be one of the less-dicussed entries. The movie is a standard buddy comedy with a script that clearly got the once-over by Ms. Fey before it went to film. What makes it ever so enjoyable (and preposterously re-watchable) is the interplay between Ms. Fey and her real-life friend Amy Poehler. There are times when Baby Mama feels like nothing more than an excuse for Ms. Fey and Amy Poehler to hang out and get paid to do so. The two have such an easy chemistry together that even when they’re fighting, you can’t help but feel like they’re only seconds away from cracking up. That inherent camaraderie and the respective comfort they have filling the roles of anal retentive neat freak (Ms. Fey) and white-trash slob (Ms. Poehler) lead us to believe that if Hollywood ever wanted to remake The Odd Couple, but with modern, 30-something women instead of 40-something men, the two funny women would be a natural choice. We can almost picture the ad campaign … The Odd Couple with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler: like Baby Mama but without all that baby business!
When we’ll probably fall asleep: While Misses Fey and Poehler have all the fun, the men in the cast are decidedly less interesting. Greg Kinnear does his sturdy “I need a paycheck” romantic-male-lead thing (we prefer his caustic performance in Ghost Town, for contrast); Steve Martin shows up in a preposterously unfunny extended cameo as a ponytailed billionaire health food nut (a question for another day: when was the last time Mr. Martin actually did something funny?); and the usually grating Dax Shepard appears as Ms. Poehler’s ne’er-do-well boyfriend. About Mr. Shepard: We’ve always questioned his comedic chops, but perhaps that’s because he never had a foil to play off like Ms. Poehler. So we’ll happily make it through 70 minutes of Baby Mama, until 11:10 p.m., when the erstwhile couple have one final blowout. It’ll give us the opportunity to hear Mr. Shepard utter one of the most straightforward and hilarious kiss-off lines we’ve heard in some time: “I’m going to bang all your friends. Consider them all banged.” You know, sometimes PG-13 movies truly are funnier.