Who’s Yer Daddy?
Published on July 31st, 2012 | by Ted Rabinowitz0
“The Babymakers” becomes available on VOD and opens at AMC Loews Village 7 on Friday, August 3.
Running time: 95 minutes; Rated R.
Sometimes a review is beside the point. The movie is a well-executed example of its genre, and you either like that genre or you don’t. Movies like this are often comedies, and “The Babymakers” is the latest.
After months of trying to get pregnant, Tommy Macklin (Paul Schneider) and his wife Audrey (Olivia Munn) visit a fertility specialist, and are horrified to find out that Tommy is infertile. Audrey tells her friends, and the news spreads like wildfire. Soon local shopkeepers and Tommy’s high school coach are approaching him with fertility treatments ranging from Bengay on the affected area to a Jamaican jerked chicken recipe…on the affected area.
At first, Tommy can’t believe that he’s “shooting blanks.” To pay for Audrey’s engagement ring, he had made regular visits to a sperm bank, where he was paid $85 a visit; obviously they weren’t paying him for worthless samples. Although he isn’t happy with the constant offhand ridicule he now receives, Tommy is most concerned about getting Audrey a baby, and he decides to get his sperm back. Unfortunately, there is only one unused sperm sample left, and it’s already spoken for. After refusing to trade certain favors for the sperm, Tommy decides to resort to desperate measures and steal it back from the bank.
The technical, film-school aspects of “The Babymakers” are all well done. The plot moves quickly, with some twists. There is none of the sloppiness that sometimes crops up in R-rated comedies; it’s clear that everyone involved with the film is a professional. But in the end, everything in a comedy (as opposed to a character-driven movie that is funny) hinges on the material, not the production values. Sloppiness can be ignored if the material is genuinely funny—early Woody Allen movies weren’t technically brilliant, they were just hilarious. And that’s where the movie falls flat.
The robbery is the finale, and before that happens, there are “who gets to be Audrey’s sperm donor” jokes, “what turns you on enough to masturbate” jokes, “how did you pay for that ring” jokes, “pothead burnout” jokes, and a montage of Tommy getting hit in the crotch by a golf club, a turnstile, and other solid objects. Many if not most of the gags revolve around Tommy being humiliated, with detours into general dumbass humor on the part of Tommy and his friends. In the end, this is a guy flick about emasculation, and that’s tough to watch, even if Tommy gets his sperm back in the end.
There are some genuinely funny moments, such as a slapstick sequence inside the sperm bank with Tommy’s best friend, Wade (Kevin Heffernan) that is sickening and hilarious at the same time, and a running gag about the loneliness of an Indian gangster (played by the director, Jay Chandrasekhar). The actors are all fully committed to their roles, from the Best Friend with the Bad Ideas (Heffernan) to the Smarmy Ex-Boyfriend (Tommy Dewey) to the Adoring and Raunchy Wife (Munn). They work together well.
The bottom line is this: If you like humiliation humor, this movie is for you. If you don’t, it will be an uncomfortable ninety-five minutes.