Miss Conception



This misconceived U.K. entry in the ever-popular pregnancy-comedy genre centers on a posh Brit's preposterous mission to get knocked up.

The toplining Heather Graham has a daffy comic quality but mainly relies on cutesy mugging, much as the story rests on flimsy situations. A light touch keeps the film from being an ordeal, but the story's trajectory is as predictable as the setup is contrived.

The Blue Angel Films/Miromar Entertainment/Northern Ireland Screen/International Film Finance production is receiving a limited release from First Look Studios. It feels more like a small-screen distraction. It opens Friday, June 6.

The inanity begins when a fertility expert assures Georgina, 33, that she's about to enter early menopause and has precisely one egg left. As bad timing would have it, she has just kicked out her boyfriend (Tom Ellis) because he hadn't expressed the requisite eagerness to procreate. He even went so far as to smash his sister's ostentatiously displayed belly cast, a passive-aggressive move that marks the bland character's one sign of mental activity.

With her best friend, the baby-averse Clem (a scene-stealing Mia Kirshner), Georgina embarks on a harebrained scheme to capitalize on her one remaining chance for pregnancy. The plan includes crashing a funeral, looking for Mr. Goodbar in a nightclub and, as a last resort in the last-resort extravaganza, making a withdrawal from a sperm bank. Rather than push the satiric edge of the baby obsession, Camilla Leslie's script embraces the banal, treating pregnancy like a lotto jackpot with an adorable gurgling-and-cooing prize.

There's a latent intelligence in the dumb scenario that Graham and especially Kirshner tap into with crisp line readings. The film's tender but unsentimental view of female friendship rings true, but director Eric Styles doesn't make much else convincing.