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The Babymakers

2012 | 98 min | R | 2.39:1

The Babymakers


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The Babymakers Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, August 12, 2012

While “The Babymakers” isn’t technically a Broken Lizard production, it might as well be. Outside of the fact it features only two members of the troupe, the picture furthers the wheezy, crude sense of humor that’s stained such films as “Beerfest,” “Super Troopers,” and “Club Dread.” Looking to toy with the anxiety of infertility, “The Babymakers” drops all sense of satire to sprint forward a live-action cartoon, with sitcom-slack slapstick, casual racism, and a few gross-out jokes, draining the premise of its potential. It’s a sloppy effort overall, though brightened by a leading performance from Paul Schneider, an unexpected choice to communicate the pain of conception and the strain of shenanigans.

On their third wedding anniversary, Tommy (Paul Schneider) and Audrey (Olivia Munn) are ready to settle down and have children. After nine months of trying without luck, it’s clear something is wrong, yet Tommy refuses to acknowledge that he might possess a low sperm count, citing a profitable run of semen donations five years earlier as evidence of his fertility. However, when the medical evidence mounts, Tommy is left with a crushing reality, disappointing Audrey and her insatiable babyfever. Determined to right the wrong, Tommy returns to his sperm bank of choice to retrieve a sample, only to learn there’s only one left and it’s spoken for. Desperate, Tommy and pals Wade (Kevin Heffernan) and Zig-Zag (a surprisingly insufferable Nat Faxton) come up with a plan to rob the sperm bank, requiring the services of Indian mobster Ron Jon (Jay Chandrasekhar) to lead the charge. Expectedly, the break-in is a mess, leaving Tommy frantic to preserve his future with Audrey, fighting to impregnate his wife.

“The Babymakers” contains a potentially entertaining idea for a caper, employing a knowing look at the struggles of infertility to backdrop promising silliness, embroidered with a sharp observance of the humiliations and emasculation of the faulty fathering experience. Screenwriters Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow (“Black Knight”) appear to some perspective on the exhaustive process of conception, with early scenes detailing the excitement of sex turning into painful routine, while also digging into Tommy’s paranoia about his sperm count troubles, fearing a loss of manhood if he can’t close the deal. It’s not profound material, but there are hints of familiarity assisting the storytelling, suggesting “The Babymakers” might be smarter than it initially looks.

In the hand of director Chandrasekhar and his Broken Lizard training (along with cohort Heffernan, who also produces), “The Babymakers” quickly transforms into an achingly broad creation, packed with labored scenarios and aggressively unfunny supporting characters, working to find a pitch of absurdity to material that’s best served with generous helpings of reality. The jokes stink, trying to find an edge that touches on xenophobia and broheim goading, while the scenarios are equally pitiful. One scene finds Tommy watching bestiality porn while making a sperm donation, only to find a broken volume control on his television. Another bit concerns nude pictures of Tommy’s ex-girlfriend taken by Wade, who slips them into his friend’s pocket before he attempts another donation, this time at home. Tommy eventually looses the pictures, and I bet you’ll never guess who finds them to facilitate a moronic break-up-to-make-up finale? With beer-swilling buddies, inconsiderate female characters, and an insistence on dim-bulb antics, “The Babymakers” feels like a homage to a latter year Farrelly Brothers production, only without the homey sense of humor.

The lone highlight is Schneider, who brings a funky energy to unbearable Chandrasekhar formula, convincing with his surprised reactions to the escalation of criminal plans and testicular therapy. He’s amusing in the role, displaying an encouraging amount of disbelief to assist the tomfoolery. Munn doesn’t match his concentration, supplying flat work as the distressed wife lacking common sense. Her role seems primarily regulated to stripping down to her underwear.

The sperm bank burglary makes up the final third of “The Babymakers,” finding Tommy and the gang playing “Mission: Impossible” with an easily manageable building. Sadly, there’s no string of inventive set-backs and terror associated with the criminal plan, only a lame running gag concerning frozen vials and Wade’s experience smashing into a collection of sperm samples, introducing a moment where the oaf is observed slopping around in spilled semen. No thanks. It’s a cheap joke in a film of limited effort, slowly sealing off its potential the longer it lingers on lackluster comedy in a manner that’s become habitual to Chandrasekhar and his cronies.

Starring: Olivia Munn, Paul Schneider, Noureen DeWulf, Aisha Tyler, Collette Wolfe, Wood Harris
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar

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