Take every movie or sitcom gag about the trials of trying to conceive and put them in one movie, and you’ve got “Making Babies.”
It’s a perfectly pleasant sit-through of a couple-trying-to-become-a-triple comedy, even if pretty much every single situation, from first scene to its last, slaps you in the face with “Where’d I see THAT before?”
Eliza Coupe (TV’s “Happy Endings” and “Casual”) and Steve Howey (TV’s “Shameless”) make a genial if not exactly must-see-Moo-vie married pair we follow through the ordeal of a “difficult” conception.
Supporting players Ed Begley Jr. and the late Glenne Headly (in her final film) give better comic value as a fertility doctor and Catholic mom respectively, and first-time writer-director Josh F. Huber creates a few conflict points that show promise.
That it never amounts to much, or anything surprising, is a bit of a shame.
Katie and John take on a new home that’s “a LOT of house” for just two, Katie observes. Let’s do something ABOUT that, John responds. And we’re off — sex (off camera), home pregnancy tests.
He’s a software engineer whose dream is to open his own craft brewery, following “500 year old German beer laws.” Good luck with that, older brother Gordon (Bob Stephenson, never quite funny) grumps. He’s mid-midlife crisis, taking on a motorcycle, joining a dojo.
His wife Maria (Elizabeth Rodriguez) urges Katie and John to go camping and make “a sleeping bag baby,” reassuring them that if that or a fertility doctor can’t help, “I’ll give you one of my kids.”
The first comic spark of life comes from that doctor,, an eccentrically indiscreet California cliche played by Begley.
“Katie, let’s talk about your uterus,” he says,, solemnly. Oh, not to worry, “It’s a real SHOW stopper.”
Thus begin assorted tests and treatments, discussions of IUI vs. IVF, more frustration, consulting a “healer” (Jon Daly, not that funny in a slam dunk part) creating a whole doctor-“witch doctor” conflict. Meanwhile, John is laid off and takes on an Uber job and Katie finds herself confronting “working mom lunch” conflicts at work and a Catholic mom she has to hide their pursuit of scientific solutions to their inability to conceive from.
“A life isn’t something that should be ordered from a CATALOG or online!”
There’s potential all over this picture, but the only real laughs are the “leprechaun” accent Katie/Coupe affects when “assisting” John’s “sampling.” Huber doesn’t do much with the doctor vs. healer conflict, does too little with the sibling rivalry and probably too much with the comically graphic indignities of sperm donation.
That and the general over-familiarity of the topic make “Making Babies” more of a chore than a joy, pun intended.
MPAA Rating: unrated, sex jokes, masturbation scenes, profanity, alcohol abuse
Cast: Eliza Coupe, Steve Howey, Ed Begley Jr., Glenne Headly
Credits: Written and directed by Josh F. Huber. A Samuel Goldwyn release.
Running time: 1:26