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LAST UPDATE: Thursday December 18, 2014 12:10AM EST
- May 05, 2008
- Vol. 69
- No. 17
Picks and Pans: Movies
Mother's Day Movies Gift Guide
Kate Holbrook (Fey) is suffering from an advanced case of baby lust. At 37, she's a successful executive at a Philadelphia-based organic grocery store chain but is unmarried and desperate to be a mom. After failed attempts at artificial insemination and adoption, she pays big money to Angie Ostrowiski (Poehler), a beer-guzzling ne'er-do-well with a slacker beau (Dax Shepard), to carry her child as a surrogate mother.
The obvious culture clash between these two women—white collar vs. blue—serves as a fulcrum for much of the humor in this agreeable but predictable from-here-to-maternity comedy. It's a given that each will learn from the other during Angie's pregnancy: Angie encourages uptight Kate to loosen up, and Kate persuades rudderless Angie to get her life together. It's sort of like watching an extended episode of ABC's Wife Swap, minus the kids.
Fey offers a minor variation on Liz Lemon, her awkward smart gal from NBC's 30 Rock, while Poehler plays it broadly, as if still in a Saturday Night Live sketch. Kinnear, Weaver and Steve Martin pop up amusingly in smaller roles. Everyone pitches in, but Baby Mama too often settles for stereotypes rather than multidimensional characters, and baby laughs rather than giant ones.
Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams| R | [
When a movie is called Deception, it's a blatant tip-off that almost nothing, and no one, is as they seem. That's bad news for our lonely accountant hero (McGregor), who, upon being befriended by a rich lawyer (Jackman), finds himself entangled in a sex club (Williams is a member), a murder and bank fraud. This woozily awful thriller first promises to be glossy, naughty fun but, thanks to a ridiculous plot filled with transparent scheming, that soon proves a deception too.
Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler | R | [
Hunt and Midler share the same screen but seem to be acting in totally different movies. Hunt, who also cowrote and directed this anxious little comedy, plays—with a desperate edge of unhappiness—a teacher whose marriage (to Matthew Broderick) has gone kaput and whose fledgling relationship with a single dad (Firth) is still uncertain. Then Midler, her birth mother, comes into her life, unbidden. Portraying a flamboyant local TV talk show host, Midler toddles through Found as if it were a wacky, big-budget Hollywood comedy. Her brassy sentimentality only serves to underscore the movie's melancholy blue notes, which float throughout and help one warm to this uneven film.
>ENCHANTED It's always happily ever after for Mom when she's watching this delicious musical satire about a cartoon princess (adorable Amy Adams) plopped down in the real world. Patrick Dempsey costars, and DVD extras include bloopers and deleted scenes. (PG) $29.99
ATONEMENT If Mom enjoys being swept away by a period romantic drama, try this compelling tale about star-crossed lovers (Keira Knightley and James McAvoy) in WWII-era England. Bonus material includes deleted scenes and commentary by director Joe Wright. (R) $29.98
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER Who can forget Meg Ryan's obsession with this classic weepie in Sleepless in Seattle? Now fans can blissfully wallow in a two-disc 50th-anniversary edition, with features on stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. (Not rated) $19.98
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