San Diego's Morning News with Ted and LaDona

San Diego's Morning News with Ted and LaDona

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At The Movies With Josh: Babes

I was worried about the movie “Babes.” It didn’t screen for the critics, which is never a good sign. It was also done by a first time director (Pamela Aldon of “Better Things” and “Louie”). 

So I trekked to my favorite theater, the Angelika Film Center, to check it out. And I’m glad I did. My wife and I had a lot of fun and some big laughs.

I’m guessing nobody will agree with me on this, but…I liked this movie more than “Bridesmaids.” That had a bigger cast of talented, funny women; yet I never bought that some of the characters would act as ridiculously as they did. In this, sure they could get crazy, but they seemed more like real people.

The film stars Ilana Glazer (Broad City), who produced and co-wrote the picture with Josh Rabinowitz. I was worried because the movie started with a ridiculous scene at a restaurant. Michelle Buteau (Survival of the Thickest) is pregnant, craving food and very hangry, so they end up at a fancy restaurant ordering everything on the menu, despite the fact that her water already broke. But after that scene, everything else kept getting funnier (and oftentimes, touching).

The two women have been friends since childhood. Dawn (Buteau) is a dentist. Eden (Glazer) is a yoga instructor. Dawn has her second kid, and a sweet husband (Hasan Minhaj). Eden soon gets pregnant. This is the sign of a good screenplay to me: when she meets Claude (Stephan James), we like their interaction. And who won’t die laughing when she says they can’t get together because it’s that time of the month. He says he doesn’t mind, and she exclaims “Okay, well…let’s go ruin a towel!”

Oliver Platt, an actor I love, was a bit wasted in this small role as an absent father to Dawn. So was one of the underrated comedians of the ‘80s, Sandra Bernhard, as a fellow dentist. But they made great use of the Lucas brothers, who are twins running an STD testing center. And John Carroll Lynch, as an OB-GYN, was hysterical. And this is another sign of good directing and a sharp screenplay – he wasn’t an idiot. He was a smart doctor, but he did take the brunt of the women’s jokes. He goofed on his bad comb-over. And even had a few funny zingers of his own. Another film would’ve just made him a clueless idiot.

Everyone always talks about how Hollywood doesn’t have any original ideas. They remake movies, give us sequels and prequels, etc. And while this movie covered a lot of topics we’ve seen before (pregnancy and the craziness of a hospital while giving birth, friends growing apart, raunchiness in a comedy, weird massage scenes, tripping out on drugs…) at least when this movie did it, they were funny and original jokes with those scenarios. Even as they smashed up a breast milk pumping device, I thought of the guys in “Office Space” smashing the copier that kept jamming, but I didn’t care. I was having a blast.

Since I’ve been keeping track for the last 20 years, it’s at about 87.4% of all movies having vomit scenes. This had a few (but when you’re dealing with pregnancies, that’s to be expected).

The movie could be disjointed at times, and it tries a bit too hard with the raunchy jokes; but the tone and pacing were perfect. And I hate to admit, I had tears of joy in my eyes at how it ended.

3 ½ stars out of 5.

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