‘Babysplitters’ Movie Review: Two Men, Two Women and a Baby
The struggles of parenting have provided many movies with fertile comedic potential. Movies like Mr. Mom, Three Men and a Baby, Parenthood, Raising Arizona, Instant Family and more have blended the comic misadventures with the heartfelt. Babysplitters is a sweet, hilarious comedy about trying to do parenthood better. It is available on VOD now.
Danny Pudi, Emily C. Chang, Maiara Walsh and Eddie Alfano ARE ‘Babysplitters’
Jeff (Danny Pudi) isn’t quite ready to have kids with his wife, Sarah (Emily C. Chang), who wants them. Their friends, Don (Eddie Alfano) and Taylor (Maiara Walsh), also have reservations. In discussing what each character’s reservations are about becoming parents, whether the time commitment or physical trials of giving birth, Jeff comes up with an idea.
If the two couples have a baby together, they can trade off duties. All four get the experience of raising a child, but Jeff will have more time to focus on his career if the baby is with Don and Taylor for a week and vice versa. When Taylor learns that she can’t conceive, they start to take the idea seriously.
The comedy of ‘Babysplitters’
Roger Ebert wrote in a 1992 review of Memoirs of an Invisible Man that “comedy consists of the application of logic to the absurd.” He doesn’t give Memoirs enough credit for doing just that, but it’s a great definition of comedy. Babysplitters applies logic to Jeff’s absurd concept. Of course you can’t share a child, but if you did, this might be how it would work.
The group of friends agree on everything at first, from religion to which last name to use. They hit a snag when they can’t afford $35,000 for artificial insemination, so they agree Don and Sarah will conceive the old fashioned way one time only.
Jeff ends up overanalyzing every sound they make during intercourse. Everyone involved in the deal is trying to be responsible about the sex scene, but it’s so awkward every time someone checks on everything. The sex scene goes on and on and makes you feel the awkwardness.
Babysplitters also finds humor in Jeff’s reservations about parenthood. These are really the same commitment phobias featured in many movies about middle aged men in crises, but a children’s birthday party presented like a Saving Private Ryan battle sequence is well done. It’s sort of like a paintball episode of Community. The film also finds some humor in Jeff’s workplace where everyone is oversensitive about rank and cultural appropriation.
A new take on blended families
Comedies have caught up with the more modern formats families find themselves in. When adults with kids remarried, blended families become a more common experience. There is literally a movie called Blended about them. Babysplitters would be a blended family to the extreme, because they even conceived that way.
The babysplitters are motivated by a sort of flawed logic. They’re trying to outsmart the responsibilities of parenthood, but there’s really no getting around it. Parenthood is all the joys and all the trials, not one or the other. Jeff’s plan backfires in other ways too, but it ends up as a sweet appreciation for the complexities of parenthood.
It’s also nice to see Babysplitters give leading roles to actors often relegated to funny sidekicks. They still get to be funny but they absolutely command the screen for two hours. It sort of speaks to the same logic of Jeff’s plan. Hollywood puts actors in certain boxes, but they don’t have to stay in the “funny supporting character” block. They can run the full spectrum of comedy, heart, drama and feel-good charm a movie like Babysplitters demands.