Today’s movie is a little thing that the Beeb threw together back in 2000: Maybe Baby. It’s the story of a couple trying to get pregnant and the stresses that come with it. But here’s the kicker: it’s a comedy.
Well, it’s sort of a comedy, actually. It stars Hugh Laurie, Joely Richardson, Joanna Lumley and features Rowan Atkinson as the fertility doctor, so you’d think it would be hilarious. And there are cameos by Emma Thompson as a new age hippie and Dawn French as a fertility clinic nurse, so it should be a riot, right? It isn’t hilarious. And it isn’t a riot. It’s actually kind of depressing.
The synopsis is this: a pair of professionals–he a television producer for the BBC and she a worker in a talent agency–are trying to get pregnant. They’re trying all of the folk remedies, pursuing medical tests, even down to IVF in the quest for the child, and nothing is working even though nothing is found to be abnormal. The stress of the tests and procedures is putting a toll on their relationship. And in the meantime, Laurie’s character is under the gun at work to come up with a script for a show to produce. So against his wife’s wishes, he ends up writing a script himself about the whole process. She discovers that he has written about it and even used excerpts from her diary, and they split up, only to come together in the end because they realize they’re still in love.
Okay, sure this is a torturous topic: when you want kids and are unable to conceive, I understand that it’s a trying time. So maybe casting it in dark humor is one way to make it more tolerable. But this telling of the story was just harsh and occasionally vulgar for no reason, and frankly, not until the end did Laurie and Richardson’s characters actually seem like they could express any emotion besides coldness and sarcasm.
And I know that may be the point, that this has probably dragged on for a while before the story started, and that their relationship now has been reduced merely to trying to conceive. But neither of them are likable at all. And even at the end as they’ve rediscovered their love for each other, I’m not entirely enamored with either of them.
I had high hopes for this film: that it would be light and funny and probably poignant and well-acted. But it really comes across as nothing more than a made-for-TV movie. Two out of five stars.
See you tomorrow.