I'm unsure what calendar day marks the official start of summer, but the unofficial beginning was yesterday, following the opening of 2008's first blockbuster, Ironman. So, after work, I went to the theater. I was excited for the groups queued up behind pieces of paper reading "FORM LINE HERE", already two-thirds done with their popcorn, and short-handing text messages to buddies too unlucky to be at the end of the line.
But I was there to see Baby Mama.... I didn't feel like fighting that opening night drama.
Tina Fey plays Kate, an upscale, upstanding vice president of operations at a Whole Foods type company. She's got baby fever, but the doc doesn't like the shape of her uterus, so he places Kate's pregnancy odds at 1,000,000 to 1. Enter Amy Poehler as South Philly surrogate fetus vessel, and you're about ready to go. But where I wasn't ready to be taken, was through a story that is smart about class status and sensitive to stereotypes... while still poking fun at both.
Baby Mama's social humor excites because it isn't damning. This is Equal Opportunity Elbowing without the snark and snoot and hate behind something like Borat. The characters and caricatures portrayed by Fey, Poehler, Steve Martin, Greg Kinnear, and Romany Malco are all both solicitors and victims to prejudicial jabs, but central to each is a warm relatable face. (Not everyone succeeds, however... Sigourney Weaver, as usual, is a chore).
Amy Poehler, especially, pulls this off with ease. Watching her political humor on SNL's Weekend Update, it's clear that Poehler is conscious of her audience's wide sensibilities and experiences. Neither she, nor Fey, take part in their generation's tawdry comedy of low-down take downs from a high-up elitist peak.
In addition to being talented, intelligent, beautiful women, these ladies are unique with their comedy that is fresh without relying on the foul. (Recent half-there comedies like Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay and Forgetting Sarah Marshall may signal the beginning of the end for the current cycle of gross-out humor.)
I saw me a superhero movie tonight too! Tina Fey and Amy Poehler : IRONWOMEN.