Maybe Baby (2000) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for sexual content, crude humor and language
Running Time: 104 min.
Cast: Hugh Laurie, Joely Richardson, Matthew MacFadyen, James Purefoy, Tom Hollander
Director: Ben Elton
Screenplay: Ben Elton
Review published April 1, 2003
The concept behind Maybe Baby, a couple try everything possible to get pregnant in vain, isn't really a novel one (unless you count that it's based on director Ben Elton's novel, "Inconceivable"), although this situation is mostly prevalent on TV shows rather than the silver screen. There has been one attempt in recent years, the mostly awful Jeff Conaway flick, Almost Pregnant, a film so unsuccessful you had the feeling we'd be revisiting the subject again. Well, revisit we have...
The couple played by Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson are Sam and Lucy Bell. They want to have a child, but getting there is half the battle, as they have been feverishly amorous to no avail. After trying all they know, they seek medical assistance, and still end up coming up short. Meanwhile, Hugh has been struggling to keep his job as a writer for the BBC due to a bout of writer's block, but brainstorms one idea: a screenplay based on a couple unsuccessfully trying to have a baby. Lucy poo-poos on the idea, as the story feels too personal and somewhat tragic. However, Sam is desperate, and proceeds anyway, with smashing results. Alas, keeping Lucy from knowing about it is exceedingly difficult, especially when she has been in a flirtatious relationship with the film's main star.
There are enough laughs to recommend Maybe Baby for a short but sweet romantic comedy, although it probably could have been better with a proven director. Ben Elton had spent years writing exactly this kind of material for the BBC, including work on famous shows like "Blackadder" and "Mr. Bean," but he films his story as if it were a television show, instead of the motion picture it is. There is a look and feel of television all over the production, from the lighting, costumes, and even in the attempts at humor. Only some very adult humor and language, in addition to the lack of a laugh-track, will keep you from thinking it wasn't just a made-for-BBC comedy.
If you have found yourself in the same situation as Sam and Lucy, or just enjoy British humor, Maybe Baby is easy to watch and provides the occasional chuckle. It's a bit on the lewd and crude side for much of its humor, so you are hereby warned. Otherwise, you'll probably find the experience of watching this to be as painful as childbirth, without the rewards.
©2003 Vince Leo