The guys behind the comedy team Broken Lizard (Jay Chandrasekhar, Erik Stolhanske, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter) have a knack for irreverent humor. Those who dig it, dig it hard. Many of their movies are very BL-centric (Super Troopers, Beerfest, Club Dread) while others see them joining in as ride-alongs on someone else’s adventure. Such was the case with the recent Dukes of Hazzard remake, and such is the case with The Babymakers.
Tommy and Audrey Macklin (Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn, respectively) have been together for a couple of years now, and decide it’s time to start a family. However, despite many attempts, they keep coming up short. Tommy is confident that his equipment and swimmers are up to the task as he secretly donated sperm to help pay for Audrey’s engagement ring. Everything checks out with Audrey, so a closer look is taken at Tommy’s contribution to the baby-making process.
Turns out his swimmers have lost their potency of late, and the couple needs to consider other options -- artificial insemination from a donor, adoption, not having kids, etc. These topics are generally handled with a reasonable amount of respect and sincerity, with some stupidity thrown in for a laugh here and there, lest it become mired in its own seriousness. While these are weighty topics and the movie does a good job of running the gamut of possibilities (including their advantages and drawbacks, like having Audrey’s ex suggest they use his sperm to get her pregnant, thus closing the loop on an unrequited fixating he has on her), it’s a comedy at heart, and doesn’t stray too far from that at any given time.
Audrey eventually learns of Tommy’s sperm donation earlier in their relationship and responds poorly to it. This sparked a conversation between me and the wife as to how different people and the opposing sexes view masturbation and what people opt to do with their fertile goods. Does she have the right to be jealous? Is donating to another couple taking something away from the existing relationship? The supporting characters rightfully and logically take positions at each end of the argument, so despite the pranks and humor, the writers considered what the audience might be thinking during these parts, too.
After they reconcile their differences on the morality of masturbation for the benefit of others and buying a symbolic ring with the proceeds, the couple decides that if any of those sperm donations are still at the cryobank, they represent their best shot at still having children strictly of their own DNA. Of course, nothing is that simple, and the remaining sample has already been sold to a couple that won’t give it up, at least not at a reasonable price, so a break-in at the cryobank is concocted without Audrey’s knowledge, enlisting the help of director Jay Chandrasekhar as Indian mafia low-life Ron Jon. It’s at this point that things go from humorous-but-relatable to slapstick silly. I could tell the wife was losing interest during this part, but I found some great laughs to be had along the way, ranging from physical comedy to strategic blunders on the part of those planning and executing the break-in. Again, this is a guy’s take on of a subject that’s surely been covered on women’s television and movies dozens of times in the past. Whether they pull off the heist and Audrey gets to have the family she yearns for I leave for your viewing pleasure.
If you like Broken Lizard’s style going in, that will help, but the movie holds up well enough on its own. Many of the “friends of Broken Lizard” actors also appear here, including M.C. Gainey, Philippe Brenninkmeyer, Nat Faxon, Charlie Finn, Candace Smith, and Marc Evan Jackson. It adds something for long-time fans of the gang, but not so much for those unfamiliar with their previous outings. It bears mentioning though that much the way Super Troopers amped up the climactic goof to the point of ludicrosity in the third act, so, too, does The Babymakers. It makes portions of the home stretch a little groan-worthy, but keeps moving at a quick pace and doesn’t linger too long on any one gag. The physical comedy is entertaining as well. It’s nice seeing Olivia Munn here, and not just because she’s a pretty good sport about acting out all the explicit fantasies Tommy has while trying to find his own “climactic moments,” if you will. While she keeps her reveals decidedly PG-13, there are plenty of other boobs and sexuality to go around. This is a movie about making a baby, after all, and it’s geared toward the male perspective throughout, much the way Bachelor Party was back in the day. Some of these naughtier moments make benefits of the higher-def Blu-ray picture worth the price.
Special features include a behind-the-scenes reel, a featurette about the making of the movie, and interviews with director Jay Chandrasekhar and cast members Kevin Heffernan, Olivia Munn, Nat Faxon, Paul Schneider, and Wood Harris. A director/actor commentary to run along with the movie would have been a lot of fun, but not this time around.
As a fan of the Broken Lizard guys (most of whom are behind the camera this time around), Olivia Munn, racy humor, and an interest in the subject matter, I had a good time with The Babymakers. The core story and hijinks hold up well enough to entertain those not as familiar with the cast, so don’t pass it up just because you haven't heard of the men behind the shenanigans.