E1 Entertainment // 2009 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Dan Mancini (Retired) // June 2nd, 2009
Big surprises sometimes come in small packages.
Writer-director-producer Judd Apatow's massively successful gross-out comedies The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up were guaranteed to spawn cheap imitations. Enter: Baby on Board. It's like Knocked Up minus the keenly observed characters and inspired laughs.
See if this sounds vaguely familiar: Angela (Heather Graham, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) is a successful career woman married to stunted adolescent and divorce attorney Curtis (Jerry O'Connell, Stand by Me). She's working on a line of perfumes for pregnant women, but is terrified by the idea of motherhood -- mainly because of her best friend Sylvia (Katie Finneran, You've Got Mail) and Sylvia's obnoxious husband Danny (John Corbett, Northern Exposure), who have two noisy brats and get into profanity-laced shouting matches at fine restaurants. Despite her recent propensity for sudden onset projectile vomiting and farts that can make one's eyebrows fall out, Angela has no clue that she's already pregnant. The revelation sends her marriage into a tailspin. Through a series of implausible misunderstandings Angela comes to believe that Curtis is having an affair, while Curtis believes that the baby is another man's. Meanwhile, Angela worries that her domineering boss (Lara Flynn Boyle, The Practice) will ruin her career over the pregnancy (because, as we all know, the 21st century workplace makes no concessions to family life).
The main difference between Baby on Board and Judd Apatow's comedies (I mean, aside from the fact that Apatow's work is actually funny) is that there isn't a single likable character in Baby on Board. When Angela, Curtis, Sylvia, and Danny aren't behaving like complete morons, they're behaving like jerks; when they're not behaving like jerks, they're behaving like bigger jerks. First time screenwriter Russell Scalise's work is a loosely knit series of clichés. The battles between the sexes are painted in the broadest possible brush strokes. The men are girl-watching pigs who spend every waking moment talking about ass. The women are neurotically obsessed about whether the effect of gravity on their breasts is causing their husbands to lose interest. It's exactly the territory that Apatow covers in his movies, but his observations are so precise and accurate that we experience his characters as real (and likable) human beings. Baby on Board is just a collection of poorly written and executed jokes about puke, farts, sex, and genitalia for their own sorry sake. Graham, O'Connell, and the rest of the cast do their best to breathe life into the limp material, but their efforts are in vain.
This Blu-ray's 1080p AVC transfer is clean but far from impressive. Colors are accurate, but detail is weak; the image looks like an upscaled DVD. A patina of fine grain lends the transfer a celluloid quality, but occasional haloing from edge enhancement acts as a reminder that the image is video. The DTS HD lossless master audio track is entirely unremarkable. Dialogue is clean and full-bodied, while music makes full use of the soundstage. It's not a bad track but there is absolutely nothing exceptional about it.
In addition to the feature, the disc contains an audio commentary by director Brian Herzlinger (My Date with Drew) and producer Emilio Ferrari (Killer Instinct), a gallery of production photos that runs as a four-minute featurette with musical accompaniment, and a trailer.
Baby on Board is a movie about pregnancy and childbirth by people who apparently know nothing about pregnancy and childbirth. It's a comedy by people who aren't funny. It's a poor imitation of a much better movie. If that weren't bad enough, this Blu-ray looks and sounds no better than a high quality DVD. If for reasons I can't fathom you have an urge to see Baby on Board don't pay extra for high definition.
Guilty as charged.
Review content copyright © 2009 Dan Mancini; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Photo Gallery