About five years ago, back when I was young and fresh and still felt excited about everything having to do with movies, I interviewed an actor who had worked in several Uwe Boll movies. I was sort of asking him how he could do that and still respect himself, given that I didn’t think Uwe Boll movies were very good. (At this time I had yet to see any Uwe Boll movies, I was just filled with Opinions One Ought To Have.) He treated this stupid question with the disdain it deserved, and said “Because I have a mortgage?” I think this was the first time I’d ever considered that actors might make role choices for reasons other than high-minded artistic ones. Paul Schneider must have one heck of a mortgage.
Schneider plays Tommy, a married man whose wife Audrey, played by Olivia Munn, wants a baby. You know how women are. The two put in some serious effort in the baby making department but no babies for them. Tommy’s band of idiot friends, and Audrey’s band of idiot lady friends all have a lot of ideas about how Tommy and Audrey could get better at making babies. These are the worst people in the world, these people who have advice about infertility that involves dipping genitals in hot water, or trying harder or whatever. So it’s to the fertility doctor for our duo. Turns out Tommy’s sperm are no good, but luckily he’s secretly made deposits at a sperm bank in the past in order to pay for Audrey’s engagement ring, since the concept of working at your job and saving up for something expensive doesn’t exist in this world. Selling your sperm is the only way to make money. Tommy tries to retrieve his sperm but it turns out there’s only a… anyway this doesn’t matter, he and his dumb friends have to break into the sperm bank to steal his sperm.
The Babymakers exists in a world where the dumbest thing that can happen will happen. Watching porn in order to produce a semen sample? The volume will magically turn itself all the way up and oh no, everyone will hear you watching animal porn! A little Chinese baby is named Jackie Chan because her American parents wanted her to have a name that celebrated her heritage. Racial stereotypes are hilarious. A magazine will have some cantaloupes on the cover and will arouse not one but several men who come across it. At one point a man thrashes about in a pile of broken sample vials, semen somehow getting all over him, on his face and in his mouth. This is devolving, but you get the idea. The number of convenient mix-ups and misunderstandings that occur would begin to frighten and disturb any regular person, but not this parade of idiots.
The worst part about the script is that it’s simply not funny. At all. Recycled jokes and depressingly stupid scenarios. Olivia Munn makes an effort with the script, but there’s not much even she can do to save this so she mostly grimaces and makes sad little faces that indicate she’s fully aware of the nightmare transpiring around her. The cast of supporting characters act out in various stupid ways, Jay Chandrasekhar directs and stars and his commitment to the project, as well as Paul Schneider’s, is kind of astonishing. Schneider never lets on that the script is terrible, he’s in it to win it and gives it his all. I have to admire that, even if it’s wrong.
In much the same way, this week I watched a young man approach a pregnant woman and her boyfriend, and ask her out. She said no and the boyfriend pointed out that she was pregnant with his child. The young man was unfazed and asked her out again. The Babymakers approaches filmmaking with the same voracious appetite for destruction, ignoring all the signs along the way that maybe this all wasn’t meant to be. In the end, The Babymakers is people you like, in a movie you won’t.