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Review: The Babymakers

'Hilarious… Almost as fun as making a baby yourself.'

 

Men don’t want to have babies. I refuse to believe it’s just me, since practically every movie ever made on the subject has found the sperm donor perpetually befuddled by the prospect of pregnancy and the decades of selfless responsibility that supposedly follow. Usually they come around by the end of the movie – i.e. when they stop being interesting – but before that it’s a non-stop chase movie where the hero dodges maturity at all costs, chased on all sides by girlfriends, family and a society that insists that they fall in line with the familiar cycle of perpetuating the gene pool. It’s oppressive, it’s unnecessary with overpopulation spiraling out of control, and I want none of it thank you very much.

So it’s a little galling that a film like The Babymakers can come around, espouse the exact opposite rhetoric and make me completely fall in love with its little world. Paul Schneider is married to Olivia Munn, the lucky bastard, and after three years of conjugal bliss they mutually decide to have a baby. Months go by of non-stop shtupping, but when nothing happens Schneider refuses to believe it’s his fault, because he secretly donated sperm years before and was found most potent indeed. When he finally relents and gets tested again, it turns out his swim team is lazier than a Brett Ratner movie, and the only way to get his wife pregnant with his own child is to retrieve his old sperm samples. When he discovers that they’ve been promised to another couple, he does what anyone in a broad comedy would do: he robs the bank. The sperm bank.

The Babymakers is a high-concept movie you don’t actually have to be high to appreciate. It takes its time getting to the plot, establishing the hero’s mounting frustrations effectively enough that his outlandish plan seems, if not reasonable, at least like the last resort of a truly desperate man. He just wants to impregnate Olivia Munn, damn it, and can you really blame him? Half the fun of Jay Chandrasekhar’s hilarious film is watching the events strangle Paul Schneider into submission, forcing him to consider the unthinkable not just because it would be funny, but because it actually seems like a good idea at the time.

The heist movie that follows is a very funny one, full of mild insights (security is surprisingly lax, since nobody in their right mind would steal sperm in the first place), and tightly constructed comic setups revolving around common sense solutions (the adoption option creates a series of unexpected problems in and of itself). It’s a smart comedy, damn it, and just happens to dip its toe in outrageousness when the moments present themselves organically. Who cares if having a child seems utterly repugnant to me? These people are into it, and their drive is so infectious that I want them to complete their journey anyhow. For once, a comedy review doesn’t boil down to “I laughed, so it was alright.” The Babymakers made me laugh, made me care and didn’t insult my intelligence. It’s almost as fun as making a baby yourself.