Tina Fey's Gushy Inner Core Explodes All Over Ziegfeld Theater

Baby Mama opened the 7th annual Tribeca Film Festival last night at the Ziegfeld Theater, and the temple of Hollywood in New York was packed full of celebrities tramping a red carpet that snaked down 54th Street almost to Sixth Avenue.

It was a comedy-loving crowd, judging from the laughs that started even before the film did, during the pre-movie Tribeca Film Festival promo short about a man as a film junkie (it’s actually funnier than it sounds), and when the lights went up you could see the proof: Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Lorne Michaels, Chris Kattan, and Molly Shannon were all there to bask in the easy charms of Tina Fey‘s slight comedy.

Also on hand was festival co-king Robert De Niro and a rather random assortment of celebrities: an incredibly hot looking Christine Lahti, plus Amy Sedaris, Dax Shepard, Faye Dunaway, Padma Lakshmi and Seth Green.

Ms. Fey, who is either the thinking man’s biggest crush right now or the subject of an enormous public comedy backlash, stars as Kate Holbrook, who is a great producer at work but not such a great reproducer at home. She eventually finds her way to Chaffee Bicknell, a surrogate mother agency (“gestation assistance”) run by the ever-fabulous Sigourney Weaver, which leads her to Amy Poehler, a “working class” gal (read: soda-guzzling, junk food-eating, skimpy-top-wearing) trying to make a buck or 10,000, and the movie gets rolling. (All three were on hand at the Ziegfeld last night, of course.)

Tina Fey didn’t write this one—first time director and S.N.L. writing alum Michael McCullers did—but the way she takes over the role almost makes it look like she must have.

Hey, when did Tina Fey turn into a real actress? Her Kate is likeable, sharp, and totally believable—a Baby Boom-ish heroine for the oughts. Ms. Poehler provides a matched counterpoint for Ms. Fey, and the two funny women (take that, Christopher Hitchens!) work well off one another.

It must further be noted that the small role Steve Martin plays in this one is quite possibly the funniest we’ve seen from the silver fox in practically a decade.

It’s funny and sweet and, at times, predictable. But its inner gushy core has a sort of undeniable appeal.

Tina Fey's Gushy Inner Core Explodes All Over Ziegfeld Theater