SXSW Review: THE BABYMAKERS

By Mark Saldana

Following THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, I stood in line once again outside the Paramount theater for the next screening. This next film by Broken Lizard director Jay Chandrasekhar doesn’t actually carry the “Lizard” label, but really is very much in the vein of their brand of humor. Written by Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow, THE BABYMAKERS tells a wild and raunchy tale of one sterile man’s quest to impregnate his loving wife. Tommy (Paul Schneider) and Audrey Macklin (Olivia Munn) have been trying vigorously to have a child. After examined by doctors, they discover a problem with Tommy’s sperm. Tommy, who had previously sold his seed to a sperm bank, decides to buy back a sample. However, when his final sample has already been sold, he, his best buddy (Kevin Heffernan), an Indian gangster (Jay Chandrasekhar) and more of their friends plot to rob the bank of the final sample.

I actually loved the premise of the movie and found myself laughing during several scenes of the movie. However, I felt that there are way too many scenes which seem intended more for shock than laughs. The Broken Lizard troupe obviously embraces raunch, so that is to be expected from a Chandrasekhar movie; however, I found some scenes to go too far over-the-top and ridiculous. Paul Schneider delivers a fine performance with superb comic timing. Olivia Munn, on the other hand, came across as wooden and stiff. Performances by Chandrasekhar and Heffernan range from hilarious to over-the-top. This film obviously is not for everyone’s taste. I am no prude whatsoever, but even I felt a little disgust at some of the raunch presented for laughs.

The following day I sat on a roundtable interview with Chandrasekhar and Heffernan who very courteously discussed their film with me and two other journalists. They really enjoyed screening their film at SXSW and loved hearing the laughter at the audience. During the interview Chandrasekhar stated, “We only write for ourselves. We only write to make ourselves laugh, and we hope that our sense of humor is in line with the country’s.” Because Chandrasekhar has been able to make several films, he has found an audience. Now granted, these adoring fans may not have many film critics among them, but they do have a dedicated fan base. Chandrasekhar and Heffernan find more validation in their fan base than they do among the critics. Heffernan told us a story about how they screened BEER FEST at Camp Pendleton for hundreds of Marines. “The place went bananas! They loved that BEER FEST movie. Two nights later the Ebert and Roeper review was on TV and they ripped it. This movie was not funny. Well, I was in a room with 600 marines who thought it was really funny, so I don’t know what you are talking about.” With SUPER TROOPERS 2 about to be green lit, it looks like they will keep making movies for their fans, for better or worse.

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