I generally dislike romantic-comedies. I am not dead inside nor devoid of humour; my aversion stems from the fact that they are rarely romantic or indeed comical. Within the first five minutes the narrative is pre-supposed and plot formation obvious. I despair of the conclusions, of which there are many, that are tied together with a big pink bow (it has to be pink – all girls like pink, right?) The representations of the sexes truly baffle as neither rarely have any redeemable qualities beyond their James Marsden-white teeth or shallow, uninspiring Katherine Heigl-perfected existence thus leaving this viewer with the dilemma as to whether to waste a couple of hours watching spookily-accurate predictions unfold on screen or do something constructive. So an open mind approached The Babymakers which offers the amusing, unassuming and charming Paul Schneider (Lars and the Real Girl, Parks and Recreation), the one-time ubiquitous Olivia Munn (Magic Mike, The Newsroom) and the premise of a rom-com-heist hybrid – how bad can it be?
A promising opening introduces Tommy (Schneider) and wife, Audrey (Munn) celebrating their third wedding anniversary and following some brief, humorous, banter about anal sex they decide to start a family. After nine months of energetically having sex in every place possible, they are still without child and so visit a fertility doctor to see what their problem may be. The reproductive expert confirms that Tommy has “slow-swimmers” and advises the couple seek a sperm donor in order to fulfil their want for a baby. Tommy refuses to believe he has any biological issue, specifically due to the twenty week’s worth of large donations he contributed to the Pasadena Sperm Bank five years earlier. Payment of which was used to buy Audrey’s engagement ring. Not completely sold on the adoption process, Tommy decides to locate the remaining deposit of his sperm and attempts to buy the vial back from a gay couple. When that falls through he and his two best friends; obnoxious Wade (Kevin Hefferman) and stoner, Zig-Zag (Nat Faxon) enlist the help of Ron Jon (the film’s director, Jay Chandrasekhar) to break into the clinic and steal what is rightfully Tommy’s.
Okay, so the film’s premise may have worked if Judd Apatow had have directed or if this one had employed a different cast, or the sperm-bank robbery had been dropped in its entirety from the script. The screenplay, written by Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow (I kid you not), is flawed, shoddily written and generally, over-egged. Clearly, given the subject matter there is still a huge stigma surrounding infertility and one that can, allegedly, be made comedic – slow sperm can be the result of testicular trauma – cue a montage of footballs, pool cues and stools smacking into Tommy’s scrotum. According to this film, adopting a baby is as easy as ordering from a take-away menu, as the leading lady crassly describes: “Chinese babies are the easiest to get. American(s) are ridiculously expensive, Russians can turn out a little crazy or we could go Ethiopian.”
The male characters laze about, drinking beer and objectify women; one even carries topless photographs of an ex-girlfriend around in his pocket while the female characters fare no better, they are all depicted as spoilt, passive-aggressive nags who either sit around complaining or shop. Schneider and Munn, who are ordinarily likable in their respective television series’, are mediocre at best and appear to have zero chemistry, unfortunately, they are just not convincing as a couple. She is vapid and a little dull and he, is clearly, not a physical-comedy kind of actor. With the amount of idiocy and deceit perpetuated by the main protagonists, procreation really shouldn’t be the answer and as a side-note: the image of a grown man writhing around on a floor covered with ejaculate is just not amusing.
Why then, did I watch it? Well, I wished to approach a film I would ordinarily turn my nose up at and… honestly, if I had know then what I know now I would not have bothered.