Jay Chandrasekhar is best known as one of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe and has directed some fairly high-profile movies and TV over the last few years. Perhaps his biggest film was the Dukes of Hazzard from a few years back which was a mixed bag to say the least.
The problem with most of Chandrasekhar’s films and a problem which The Babymakers also suffers from is that they seem in a major hurry to get to the next joke and don’t allow the audience breathing room with the characters. As a result they always feel more like some kind of endurance contest than an actual comedic narrative. During The Babymakers you can see that there was potential for a laugh out loud comedy but the pace is one of two major flaws that meant I only sniggered intermittently throughout the film.
The story focuses on Tommy and Audrey Macklin (Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn) who are in their early 30’s, married and trying for a baby. After nine months and no baby bump they start to question what might be wrong. Turns out that Tommy has a low sperm count even though when he donated several years ago he was informed that his sperm was fine. Desperate for a child they consider adopting but this doesn’t quite go to plan either, so Tommy and his friends hatch a plan to steal his old donations from the freezer in the clinic where he donated.
This is a brief rundown of the plot of the film, truthfully the actual robbery plot doesn’t kick in until the last act, the first two acts are taken up with some sub-par Judd Apatow banter between Schneider and his mates (Broken Lizard stalwarts Kevin Heffernan and Nat Faxon) and some sub-plot about masturbation to old girlfriend photos that inevitably leads to the mid-act walk out by the wife.
The screenplay by Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow tries far too hard, it starts off with Sparky dialogue that soon descends into crass smut for no apparent reason when the joke starts to drag. When you get down to it the robbery element is quite a dark and subversive plotline and should have been more of a focus in the film instead of the trials and tribulations that Tommy goes through in the period leading up to his final desperate decision. It could have been a kind of 30 Seconds or Less with sperm, but the film’s writers seem far too pleased with their characters and their banter to focus on this element of the story.
The other major flaw, perhaps THE fatal flaw is that Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn are not leading actor and actress material. Munn in particular is terrible, and doesn’t convince in the slightest as a character that would inspire Tommy to go the extreme lengths he does to make her happy. Munn is an actress far more suited to the part of the best friend and here it seems that any of the actresses who actually play her character’s best friends in the story would have made for a better lead. Paul Schneider is better but not a comedic leading man; he lacks charisma and comic timing and seems uncomfortable in the role. Bad casting aside, the people around these two who are more used to this kind of material do a solid job especially Chandrasekhar himself as a deranged drug dealer.
The Babymakers is not a good film but reasonably diverting should it pop up on whatever streaming service you subscribe to eventually. Chandrasekhar probably needs to get back in with the Broken Lizard group quickly.