‘The Babymakers’: Abort! Abort!

July 31, 2012


I’ll admit I’ve never seen any of the movies from the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, which include such deathless titles as “Super-Troopers,” “Beerfest” and “The Slammin’ Salmon.”

And now, on the basis of “The Babymakers,” I’m not likely to. It’s not as if these films have been bubbling around the underground circuit, building long-term word-of-mouth, the way something like “Wet Hot American Summer” has over the years. Having missed that film when it was released in 2001, I eventually circled back and checked it out, 10 years later, to discover that it was, in fact, deeply overrated.

“The Babymakers” wants to be a Judd Apatow comedy (a genre which should be defined as both raunchily funny and invariably overlong). Instead, it’s like a third-rate Comedy Central sitcom (which, with only a couple of exceptions, are themselves pretty third-rate), with dirty words, little nudity and fewer laughs than fingers on one hand.

Things you do to yourself with one hand: That’s a running theme in this movie and, really, the perfect metaphor for the film itself.

Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn play Tommy and Audrey, a couple who, on their third anniversary, decide to have a baby. One problem: Tommy’s shooting blanks, thanks to a series of shots to the groin he’s taken over the years (shown in an unhilarious montage). But he reveals that, before the marriage, before his balls became punching bags for random accidents, he regularly made deposits at an area sperm bank to earn the money to buy Audrey a ring.

This is denigrated – by his father-in-law, among others – as “beat-off money.” It’s not funny the first time, or the other times it’s used in the film.

But when Tommy tries to retrieve one of his samples from cryogenic storage, he’s told that it’s all been used. There’s only one specimen left, and it’s been spoken for by a gay couple, who will implant it in a surrogate the following week. A plea to the couple is fruitless – and so Tommy is left with the only option available to him (or at least the only option open to him in a movie this pointedly stupid): Rob the sperm bank and steal that final specimen.

I’d go on but I feel the will to live leaving my body, much as it did while I watched this weak-minded comedy. The film’s occasional laugh no doubt died of loneliness a long time ago.

Think of “The Babymakers” the next time you meet a film critic and say, “What a great job – watching movies for a living.” These are the sacrifices we make for you.

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