A young couple’s uncomfortable problems with fertility gives director Jay Chandrasekhar plenty of fertile ground for lewd but humorous sex jokes about masculinity and masturbation in The Babymakers, a partial Broken Lizard collaboration that’s far funnier than any comedy with this many sperm-based punch lines should be.
On their three-year anniversary, Tommy (Paul Schneider) and Audrey (Olivia Munn) decide it’s time to start a family. But after nine months of hot sex in strange places, the flames of passion are dwindling and Audrey’s eggs aren’t getting fertilized. Everyone has a theory – in Babymakers, a very personal dilemma is milked for awkwardly public laughs – and they all involve Tommy’s inability to produce potent sperm. But he knows that isn’t the case, for he once donated 20 batches to a local sperm bank to help pay for Audrey’s engagement ring. And now he’s thinking about breaking into that same facility to retrieve samples of his donated goods.
Pretty much every Broken Lizard comedy since Super Troopers has fallen flat (for me, anyway), so I’m positively shocked I found Babymakers so funny. No subject is too taboo for Chandrasekhar to place under the microscope of comedy, from cuckolds or a montage of Tommy’s scrotal traumas, to stolen kidneys and deeply racist jokes about our country outsourcing our fertility issues by adopting Chinese babies.
The Farrelly Brothers would have had a field day with Gerry Swallow (really?!) and Peter Gaulke’s in-touch screenplay, which is refreshingly trashy and candid at first. Later, you just kind of choke on the vulgarity of all the anal-sex, ejaculation and horse-fucking jokes.
The leads help sell the film’s sperm-laced insanity, however. Schneider’s one of the most underused comedic voices available today. How he doesn’t have Bradley Cooper’s career is beyond me, at least at this point. He’s handsome, likeable, and blessed with solid comedic timing. The same goes for Munn, who routinely wraps her girl-next-door sexuality around her comedy. Broken Lizard troupe member Kevin Heffernan’s a great support system to Tommy, always tossing wild ideas against the wall until something sticks. And Chandrasekhar appears later in the film for a hilariously criminal Indian gangster cameo. He used to drive a cab, he can fix your computer, but he’s also willing to slit a man’s throat … invaluable skills when you are planning a sperm-bank job.
One knock against Babymakers is that it takes more than 70 of the film’s 98 minutes to get to its hook, which is the planned infiltration of the sperm bank in which Tommy made deposits. That’s a lot of time padded with jerk-off jokes, but Chandrasekhar uses the downtime to craft engaging heist riffs that turn Babymakers into an original, entertaining, dirty spin on a universal problem far too many couples probably face. Even better, it’s a viable alternative to the wishy-washy romantic comedies couples have to endure when looking for a date-night rental.
The standard-edition DVD release of Chandrasekhar’s The Babymakers comes with three supplemental features which dive into the production’s history. These are pretty conventional extras.
The first segment on the disc, titled “Featurette,” cobbles together a basic promotional reel using film footage and cast interviews from the set, establishing Babymakers as “Ocean’s 11 with sperm.” It's largely forgettable.
There’s more information in the 19-minute "Cast & Crew Interviews" section, although it’s weirdly divided up like a promotional reel—the type you often see given to TV stations to use when they are selling the movie. But it's awkwardly edited, and you keep hearing an off-camera interviewer starting to ask Chandrasekhar and his cast softball questions. One is actually called “Olivia Munn: I Had Fun Making This Movie.” After that, she turns into a human beatbox. You kind of have to see it.
The "Cast & Crew" clip is an odd format for a DVD feature, even if it does offer interesting tidbits for people who wind up enjoying the film. The DVD is so sparse, we should be happy with what we've received. But I’m not sure that I’d trade this segment for a director’s commentary track. Chandrasekhar shows in the "Cast & Crew" interviews that he's an engaging, verbal storyteller. I wonder why he didn’t sit down to record an audio commentary track for this?
The DVD concludes with 10 minutes of B-roll behind-the-scenes footage of the cast and crew hanging out on the set, followed by previews for four additional films.
Reviewed By: Sean O'Connell