Baby On Board

  Baby On Board
  Heather Graham, John Corbett

  1 out of 5 stars
  Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson

Oh, baby... The stench you smell isn't coming from your kid's Huggies, it's wafting from the screen. "Baby on Board" is as painful to experience as passing a Greyhound bus. Heavenly Heather Graham deserves better than this colicky collection of uncouth crap -- and so do you.

The plot is as simple as makin' bacon. Angela (enthusiastic but over-matched Heather Graham), is an ambitious account executive working for Mary, a heartless harpy (death head Lara Flynn Boyle, looking like she kissed a revolving propeller with her lips). Angela's come up with "Baby on Board," a perfume for expectant mothers, and if she can convince the company's Japanese investors to start production, she'll likely get promoted to Vice President. If she fails, Mary may melt her down and inject what's left of her into her lips. Angela's husband, Curtis, (a completely lost Jerry O'Connell), is a successful lawyer who's very good at fleecing his clients soon to be ex-spouses. The couple has been thinking about starting a family, but watching the marriage of their best friends Danny and Sylvia (despicably vile and immature John Corbett and red headed hottie Katie Finneran) implode amidst accusations of adultery and apathy has made them reconsider the idea. Too late! Due to a faulty condom, Curtis' commandos are already swimming upstream. Multiple marital misunderstandings ensue when Angela spots Curtis in a clinch with a gold-digging client and Danny convinces Curtis his wife is having an affair. Curtis and Angela stop talking, and Curtis winds up in the spare bedroom with Angela repeatedly dumping his dirty laundry on top of him. Angela stresses over her deadline and the prospect of being a single mom, while Danny and Sylvia draw up their divorce papers. Will love or litigation conquer all? Will you care? 'Fraid not, baby.
The cast, particularly Jerry O'Connell, look as if they've been caught with their diapers full.  Sporting a Moe Howard haircut, O'Donnell's Curtis is a whimpering, simpering, bumbling boob. Curtis walks around much of the film in a daze, making it hard to believe he's one of the best divorce lawyers in the business.

Heather Graham tries hard, but she's hampered by the stillborn script that has the I.Q. of an episode of Barney -- and is tasteless as Beechnut strained peas. Much of the material is surprisingly raw, rude, and decidedly unfunny. Graham is involved in the flick's few fleeting funny moments, including a scene in which she imagines Curtis cheating on her in their kitchen with a sultry siren. The would-be mistress writhes seductively commanding Curtis' attention, so Angela tries to counter with her own goofy fertility Frug.

Graham and O'Connell provide the movie's only lively dialogue, a straight steal from Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine:

Curtis: Okay, what's up?
Angela: You know what's up.
Curtis: You're going to have to tell me because I don't know what you're trying to pull me into here.
Angela: It's not a what. It's a who.
Curtis: A who? What who?
Angela: What who? You know who.
Curtis: I'm sorry, I don't speak Dr. Seuss.

Graham also has a tasteless scene involving an impressive blast of projectile vomiting. Her victim, writer/producer Russell Scalise, pulls an Alfred Hitchcock by appearing as a doorman in his own movie. I envied Graham's aim and wished I had shot at showing Scalise what I thought of his work. However, if Heather Graham ever gives birth, I hope she doesn't make those Billy Idol expressions; they're liable to traumatize her child worse than watching a rerun of "baby on bored."

John Corbett ("Sex in the City," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), is the film's L'Enfant Terrible. He gives a career-ruining performance as Danny, Curtis' macho lunkhead best friend and Sylvia's philandering husband. Danny is a crass, skirt-chasing, booze swilling Neanderthal with the vocabulary of a horny longshoreman, and he'll pay any price for a good time as long as it ends with a sex act. Since "Baby on Board" is supposed to be a light, zany, juvenile comedy, Danny's degrading trash mouth goes well beyond the pale. He's a Bluto Blutarsky butthead who's more blue than funny. How much of a degenerate is Danny? After enjoying a lifetime's worth of Heinekens, hookers, and hand jobs in record setting time, Danny boy is busted by Sylvia pleasuring himself in his home office. C'mon, Dan, even I know when to quit. Danny gives what's supposed to be an enlightened speech about love and devotion that catapults Sylvia back into his arms, but it's as genuine and believable as Nixon saying he wasn't a crook. Danny is a disgusting pig, and Corbett gives an embarrassing performance.

The movie's one saving grace is Katie Finneran as tart-tongued Sylvia, Angela's best friend and Danny's suffering spouse, who's fed up with his mistresses and non-stop partying. (Danny drinks and ruts so much we don't even learn what he does to afford his Hugh Hefner on speed lifestyle.) Finneran may look like a soccer mom, but she possesses the acid tongue of a vengeful cougar (yes, the female type, not the feline version).

Lara Flynn Boyle, or the skeleton that was once Lara Flynn Boyle, plays Angela's Type A boss, Mary. Her puckered, poor performance will put her on the fast track to the celebrity "D" list. Next stop Lara, the lower left hand corner box on "The Hollywood Squares." The fish-lipped Boyle appears to have had too much hang time with Jack Nicholson - all the Botox injections she's subjected herself to have given her a twisted expression resembling Jack's portrayal of The Joker. Boyle lips are stretched so tightly that she's difficult to understand and can only wiggle her eyebrows to express her character's constant irritation. Its okay, Mary's no more than a variation on the over achieving biotch with her knickers in a twist. Whenever she refers to Angela's perfume project, Mary repeatedly manages to mutter (without the slightest hint of subtlety), "Don't forget, this is your baby." (Get it?)

The ladies will be happy that there's just as much male flesh on display as female, but flabby, tattooed butt cheeks and pancake boobs ain't sexy or funny, baby.

Some babies are cute; some look like drooling, pooping mini versions of The Elephant Man. "Baby on Board" is the later and should have been aborted.



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