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There are many couples who tragically face great difficulties conceiving, but sadly no such problem afflicts far too many filmmakers who persist in mining the topic for cheap laughs. The latest example of the unfortunately fertile trend is a comedy from Josh Huber that features every stereotypical plot element and predictable gag imaginable. Making Babies demonstrates the need for creative contraception.
“My uterus is going to shut down like Chernobyl!” complains Katie (Eliza Coupe, Hulu’s Casual), after several failed years of attempting to have a child with her husband, John (Steve Howey, Showtime’s Shameless). Both are experiencing professional frustration as well. John, who has an unfulfilling job as an IT specialist, dreams of opening his own brewery (as apparently all men do), while Katie’s boss (Jennifer Lafleur), unlike her, has no problem getting pregnant.
Release date: Mar 29, 2019
The couple naturally turn to a fertility specialist (Ed Begley Jr.) who, as is so often the case with this sort of material, is meant to be amusingly quirky. A history buff, he peppers his medical advice with quotations from the likes of William Tecumseh Sherman and Abraham Lincoln. After assuring Katie that her uterus as a “showstopper,” he says that the problem may be John’s sperm count.
Cue the inevitable sperm donation scene, with a skittish John complaining at the clinic, “I’m not feeling it.” Katie offers to help, but has second thoughts upon entering the small, pornography-filled room in which the deed is to be done. “This is like the set of a Saw movie,” she observes. It’s a funny line; much less amusing is her attempt to turn John on by pretending to be a leprechaun. And, of course, when the doctor later informs John about the woeful test results, it’s not in the privacy of his office but rather in a crowded bar where everyone overhears.
For every mildly amusing gag, there are many more that fall hopelessly flat. A scene involving the couple’s visit to a New Age healer (Jon Daly) who advises them not to refrain from sex but rather to “bone down” is desperately unfunny, and a sequence depicting their hallucinations after ingesting drugs seems like a leftover from the late 1960s. The most egregious episode features a sexually desperate John frantically masturbating in an infant’s bedroom at a crowded party. Care to guess whether the baby monitor accidentally gets turned on?
By the time the film turns semi-serious and attempts to get us emotionally invested in the characters’ travails, we’ve long since tuned out. The performers struggle vainly to wrest laughs from the material, with only the deadpan Begley managing not to embarrass himself. The biggest crime of all is that this pic represents the final screen appearance of the late Glenne Headly, sadly wasted as Katie’s religious mother, who disapproves of her daughter’s herculean attempts to conceive.
Production company-distributor: Huber Bros. Productions
Cast: Eliza Coupe, Steve Howey, Ed Begley Jr. Glenne Headly, Bob Stephenson, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Jon Daly, Jennifer Lafleur
Director-screenwriter: Josh Huber
Producers: Christopher Huber, Alexander Roos, Fred Roos
Executive producer: Melony Huber
Director of photography: Matt Edwards
Production designer: Liz Toonkel
Costume designer: Swinda Reichelt
Editors: Jay Deuby, Michael Swingler
Composer: Keegan DeWitt
Casting: Beth Holmes, Lindsay Bellock Lieber
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