Sunday, June 26, 2016

Baby Boom

Baby Boom; drama / comedy, USA, 1987; D: Charles Shyer, S: Diane Keaton, Kristina & Michelle Kennedy, Sam Wanamaker, Sam Shepard, Harold Ramis, James Spader, Pat Hingle

New York. J.C. Wiatt, a career woman who sometimes spends up to 70-80 hours a week at work, is surprised when she "inherits" a little baby, Elizabeth, from a distant cousin who died in England. Completely unadjusted to real life issues, J.C. has huge problems balancing her career and the baby, while her partner Steven leaves her because of that. She decides to quit and go live in a small town in Vermont. There she meets and falls in love with a dashing veterinary, Jeff, and makes a business comeback by producing baby food.

A light comedy with a few emotional moments, "Baby Boom" is an easily watchable, but thin film with too much empty walk and schematic situations the heroine finds herself into that are banal in illustrating her problems, whereas it suffers too much from over-reliance on the "cute factor" of the baby - a few of such scenes are legitimate, yet it is not good when too much of the film seems to be assembled out of arbitrary moments involving the toddler, and too little out of the grown ups protagonists and their dramaturgy. Diane Keaton copes well with such a role, yet she can only go so far in such a simplistic one-note storyline. Harold Ramis makes for a charming, gentle supporting role in the first act as the heroine's love partner who slowly gets "pushed away" by the baby, whereas the story sets out to tell a few neat observations about people who became so alienated through their non-stop work in the modern cities that they forgot how to live and feel basic emotions at all, symbolic in J.C.'s leaving New York for a small country town, where people are still humans. A real surprise is the brilliant performance by the legendary Sam Shepard as Dr. Jeff, who shows up some good hour into the film - whenever he is on, the movie excels and feels much better (the charming moment when J.C. drops all her books in the library and he asks her: "Are you always so nervous around men or is it just me?"), but sadly, he should have been more in the film to salvage it.


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