Movie Review: Malin Makes Babies at “The Donor Party”

In her latest, Malin Åkerman plays a 40something divorcee who has “baby fever,” which is why she finds herself coming on to select single men the night of her peak ovulation, turning a friend’s birthday gathering into “The Donor Party.”

The debut feature of writer-director Thom Harp is a raunchy, skirt-hiking farce that never quite achieves the happy ending all involved were hoping for, although it finds a few laughs and some oh-no-they-didn’ts.

Jacqueline is doing fine until she runs into her ex (Ryan Gaul) and the woman he left her for, who is now pregnant. He didn’t want children with her. Let the record reflect that she’s a jilted divorcee who “wasted all my good eggs” on “that a—-le” Todd.

Her besties Amandine (Bria Henderson of TV’s “The Good Doctor”) and Molly (Erinn Hayes of “Children’s Hospital”) try to console her, and then come up with “a plan” for how to solve her problem.

The script has Jacqueline dismiss “adoption” and sperm bank implantation as “too expensive.” And yet she expects to be able to afford to raise a child.

She’s over 40 and can’t waste any more time dating. There’s nothing for it but to aggressively pursue a one night stand. The search for “A single man who is disease-free in the suburbs” begins.

But to ensure success, they decide Jacqueline had better make it “three one-night-stands.” And as Molly’s about to throw a birthday party for her husband (Rob Corddry), Jacqueline might be able to triple down, all in one night. With her ovulation app as her guide and lesbian Amandine and long-married Molly doing the match-making, and Jacqueline looking like the Swedish Canadian blonde goddess Malin Åkerman, this should be a snap.

The party is populated by pregnant women (including Aarti Mann of “The Big Bang Theory”) and other moms who warn Jacqueline about the consequences of childbirth — career loss, body strained and stretched, a loss of your childless friends and a change in your “interests.” Those will become what your child is interested in, not you.

But it’s also got daddy candidates, from the arrogant and sexist portrait painter (Jerry O’Connell) to TV’s “Shirtless Chef” (Jeff Torres), a preening poser who fancies himself the new Jeff Goldblum, to the short, sweet nebbish (Dan Ahdoot) and hunky blond flirt Armin (Ryan Hansen).

The night will include wine spiked with “Molly” for the unknowing potential “sperm donors,” clumsy come-ons from Jacqueline, who is out of practice, and a lot of intercourse — in all of its (not really R rated) messy glory.

Henderson may be playing a modern rom-com “type,” the sassy Black gay BFF. But she lands a lot of the laughs, aiding and abetting the “sperm-napping” or whatever everybody wants to call it. Armandine is the “coach,” urging her player to “‘Ho’ now,” so she can “Mom later.”

Corddry’s good for a giggle or three, Hayes does an amusing stoned act and O’Connell heads right over the top as a jerk who trots out every “shaming” in the book for our expectant-to-be-inseminated heroine.

Åkerman throws herself into this with something resembling the skin-and-sweat-and-sexual abandon she brought to her breakout film, “The Heartbreak Kid.” But Jacqueline is older, sadder, so long off the seducing a man market that she’s taking man-catching advice from a sarcastic lesbian. Åkerman plays that desperation, too.

Not every actor brings something fun to the table, because the misfiring script has so many characters to service that most have no chance to make an impression.

There are moments when we hear monologues on aging, the disparity in dating (men always with younger women), the gamble that your chosen mate will be a good father, or even want to be one.

But this isn’t anywhere nearly as thought-provoking, amusing or sentimental as the raunchier “Knocked-Up.” And the one-night/many partners thing, vulgar as it is, isn’t as amusing as it might have played with script doctoring and a deeper, more comically-experienced cast.

Rating: unrated, drug abuse, sex and sex and profanity about sex

Cast: Malin Åkerman, Jerry O’Connell, Bria Henderson, Erinn Hayes, Ryan Hansen, Dan Ahdoot, Aarti Mann and Rob Corddry

Credits: Scripted and directed by Thom Harp. A Vertical release.

Running time: 1:33


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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