Maybe Baby

Honey, my eggs are ready: Sam and Lucy (Laurie and Richardson) have a happy marriage strained by childlessness.
dir-scr Ben Elton
with Hugh Laurie, Joely Richardson, Adrian Lester, James Purefoy, Tom Hollander, Joanna Lumley, Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson, Dawn French, Matthew Macfayden, Kelly Reilly, John Fortune
BBC 00/UK 3 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
Ben Elton makes the jump from actor-writer to director with Maybe Baby, and he's obviously very well-connected to get his hands on a cast like this. He's also surprisingly good at bringing his solid script to life on the big screen--not a great director, but there are some extremely nice touches. But it's the film's real-life brand of humour that makes it well worth seeing.

Sam and Lucy (Laurie and Richardson, reunited after 101 Dalmatians) are a very happy couple who desperately want a baby. But nothing seems to work, so they enter the strange world of fertility testing and IVF, while life goes on all around them. Sam's job as a BBC writer is going nowhere; he needs inspiration for a script. And as a theatrical agent, Lucy finds herself attracted to one of her handsome actor clients (Purefoy). Can their marriage survive all the strain?

Elton is always good at finding real humour in everyday situations, and this film is jammed full of hilarious moments, sharp satire and very vivid characters, including Lester's cynical coworker, Atkinson's fumbling doctor, Thompson's new age wacko, Macfayden's corp-speak executive, and especially Hollander's hot-shot director. But the story is also grounded in its serious themes, and the betrayals and doubts are honest and tough. This makes the film much more than a comedy about infertility ... it's a careful examination of the inner workings of a marriage without any sticky sentimentality at all. And as such, it's surprisingly effective stuff.

[15--adult themes, sexual situations, language] 23.May.00
UK release 2.Jun.00; US release 24.Aug.01

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall