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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Babyfever

Starring: Victoria Foyt, Matt Salinger
Director: Henry Jaglom
Rated: R
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: May 1994
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Zack Norman, Eric Roberts, Dinah Lenney, Frances Fisher, Elaine Kagan

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

BABYFEVER is a Henry Jaglom movie, and his movies are an acquired taste. Probably the best of them was ALWAYS (1985) which should not be confused with Spielberg's ALWAYS (1989) with Holly Hunter. Jaglom's ALWAYS was a pseudo-documentary about the signing of his divorce papers and has a subtitle of BUT NOT NECESSARILY FOREVER. He has a weekend long party and invites his soon to be ex over along with all of their friends. It was one of my favorite movies of the 80s.

Jaglom's movies star his friends and relatives. The star in BABYFEVER is his wife, the actress Victoria Foyt, and BABYFEVER is her only movie. Jaglom's style is that of a homemade documentary where the actors and actresses are told to act like they are not acting. His plots are usually semi-autobiographical. In BABYFEVER, he was the director, writer, producer, and editor. He did not appear in the movie which surprised me since he is usually in his pictures.

BABYFEVER is a movie about women, especially those over 35 or 40, who get an obsession with having a baby. The movie has 12 starring women plus 3 men who appear in minor roles. Almost all of the movie happens during a 2 hour baby shower. There is a movie within the movie of a documentary of the women talking one-on-one with the camera about their inner thoughts on wanting a baby.

To add a bit of comic relief, there is a side plot about the "rich" husband whose house is being used for the shower. It seems he is a real estate wheeler dealer who has many possession but a large negative net worth. It implodes on him during the shower.

The movie within the movie is great. The women are very funny and insightful with many great lines. Most of them talk about how much they want to find a man so they can have a baby and how their biological clock is running out on them. Some of the best lines include a woman who says she feels like going to the supermarket and shouting over the loudspeaker "Attention shoppers, attention shoppers, I am ovulating now, I am ovulating NOW!" Another woman, says that when a guy asks her out to dinner, her thought is: "Dinner, I don't need dinner. I've tried that - it does no good. That is not what I want, I want a baby." There is another scene where the women argue about who has the fewest number of eggs left. These one-on-one interviews are fascinating, and I can easily recommend this part of the show.

Most of the movie however consists of the awkward acting and dialog of the shower itself. This part is trite and tedious. The wheeler dealer subplot is kind of a nice diversion but nothing special.

As someone who was married for 20 years before deciding to have a child (and succeeding), and someone who spent many years unsuccessfully trying to have a second, I can really identify with the issues discussed. All of the techniques, operations, and drugs they discuss may sound foreign to some, but sounded familiar to me.

It is a close call, but I can not recommend the movie because the main part was too banal and poorly acted. Rent it in a few months and watch only the interviews. Overall, I rate it **.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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