Case Number 16993

LABOR PAINS (BLU-RAY)

First Look Pictures // 2009 // 89 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 10th, 2009

The Charge

Sort of like giving birth for real.

Opening Statement

Lindsay Lohan (Freaky Friday) returns from wherever she's been to make this movie. Lucky us.

Facts of the Case

Thea (Lohan) is a hard-working young woman, trying to scrape together a career as a secretary in publishing. Things aren't going well for her, though, and she nearly gets fired -- until, on the spot, she lies and says she's pregnant. Well, they can't fire a pregnant girl and thus the gimmick is set in motion. As the months roll on, she'll have to continue the lie, in zany socially awkward fashion of course and maybe, if she's lucky, find TRUE LOVE!

The Evidence

Labor Pains isn't malignantly bad, but it sure is flat and uninspired. The whole premise isn't even that interesting. So she doesn't want to get fired because she needs the job, partially because she's raising her high school-aged daughter. Any limited-run gags that can arise from this -- faking symptoms, fake vomiting on an important person, lying to an OB-GYN -- are shelved in exchange for, well, Lindsay Lohan wearing a fake stomach and failing to accurately talk about her uterus.

She tries pretty hard, but Lindsay just can't cough up a memorable comedic performance. The eagerness is there, as is her willingness to bumble through contrived set-pieces, and she seems to be okay with wrestling in her underwear, but whether it's the weak script, a dumb idea, or a combination of the two, the girl is trapped in a mediocre movie.

If anything salvages the flatlining comedy it's the romance. I'm stunned I just wrote that, but it's true. The second big plotline involves Thea and an evolving relationship with her editor Nick, played with a nice touch by Luke Kirby. The guy's no Alpha male, which is a good change of pace from the typical romcom formula. How their story ends -- predictably, as mandated by the playbook -- is nevertheless satisfying and easily the sentimental high point of an otherwise milquetoast, disposable comedy.

Onto the Blu-ray, which is decent, though aside from an enhanced audio and visual merits, does little to differentiate itself from its DVD counterpart. I guess these days we're used to this kind of treatment for non-blockbusters, but that doesn't mean it's not a disappointment to see a lack of implementation of Blu features, especially for a new release. The 1.85:1 widescreen is solid, boasting an improved resolution, but the colors struck me as soft; it's not a deal-breaker by any means. The regular old 5.1 Dolby Digital surround won't be lauded by audiophiles, but it gets the job done. Extras: a standard-issue making-of featurette, cast interviews, and production stills.

Closing Statement

The movie's a soggy disappointment and the Blu-ray only gets an edge in the visuals. Don't beat yourself up if you miss this one.

The Verdict

Guilty. Pushhhhhhh this one out.

Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 85
Audio: 80
Extras: 80
Acting: 70
Story: 60
Judgment: 62

Perp Profile
Studio: First Look Pictures
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* PCM 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)
* Spanish

Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurette
* Interviews
* Image Gallery

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1231287/combined