Mr. Movie

Superb cast full of laughs in Baby Mama

Baby Mama struggles a bit at the inception and with the conception before going into hard labor and giving birth to the year’s most sophisticated mainstream comedy.

Saturday Night Live comedian and Mean Girls writer Tina Fey plays a 37-year-old single, professional woman hearing nature’s tick-tock talking. With help from almost-SNL alum Steve Martin and the highly underestimated comedy skill of Sigourney Weaver, Fey gets a shot at carrying a movie as a woman who can’t carry a baby. Her docs say the plumbing isn’t right.

Desperate, Holbrook hires a surrogate done by SNL regular Amy Poehler displaying tons of up-until-now hidden talent. Poehler lights up the screen as the cool, stick-your-gum-under-the-coffee-table, flashy, trailer-trashy Angie.

Writer/director Michael McCuellers (all three Austin Powers movies) has a blast poking fun of baby outsourcing. He wraps a terrific soundtrack and great performances around new mommyhood, awkward female anatomical discussions, the baby industry (from classes to childproofing to a safety conscious stroller with side airbags), and then tosses in a dash of formula romance to fluff it all up.

It takes awhile for the screenplay to get to the “twist” and to where Baby Mama eventually trips up and stumbles into sitcom territory. However, smart, funny lines executed by a superb cast make getting there a blessed event.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars.

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. Opens today at the Columbia Mall 8 and at Fairchild Cinemas.

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

Kumar steps one toke over the line on a plane to Amsterdam and he and Harold are mistaken for terrorists. Without due process, the two are sent to Guantanamo Bay, then promptly escape. An over-the-top Homeland Security cop gives chase in a comedy that, in places, is equally over-the-top.

I didn’t laugh much during the original but Kal Penn, John Cho and another outrageous cameo from Neil Patrick Harris (TV’s How I Met Your Mother) as himself cracked me up this time.

Like the first film, every crisis is met head-on with a bong hit or a toke or two on a joint. Dope as a solution is disturbing even if the characters are deeper, and the comedy edgier and more mature this time.

And stay through the credits to find out the fate of one of the characters and why Harold and Kumar’s sequel will get a sequel.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars.

Rated R for drug use, nudity, language, mature themes. Opens today at the Columbia Mall 8 and at Fairchild Cinemas.

Married Life

There are four problems with Married Life.

Problem No. 1: Chris Cooper (Breach) and Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April) are known for giving performances that are the only thing making a movie worth seeing.

That doesn’t happen here.

In the 1950s, divorce was a stigma. Once you tied the knot, that was it — stuck until death-do-us-part. Dozens of books, TV shows and movie plots have made an attempt at solving the stuck part via murder. Few are successful. Married Life takes up the topic with Cooper as Harry Allen, a man in love with a younger woman done by Rachel McAdams. He’s poisoning his wife because divorce would destroy her.

Problem No. 2: In real life Cooper is 25 years older than McAdams. Harry shares news of the tryst with his oldest friend Richard (Pierce Brosnan), who also falls in love with her.

Problem No. 3: She is 23 years younger than Brosnan, who is trying new roles after the confining tuxedos, gunplay and babes of the James Bond series.

Problem No. 4: After 45 minutes, this dark comedy about infidelity, secrets, guilt and murder has nowhere to go. In the remaining 45 minutes, this saga sags, sputters, then completely stalls when we’re force-fed a sappy, unsatisfying ending.

Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars.

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. Opens today at the Carmike 12.