Written and directed by Sam Friedlander
The final flick of the 2019 CAAMFest evening was Babysplitters, complete with actors Danny Pudi, Emily C. Chang, and writer/director Sam Friedlander in attendance. It was also the best film of the night! Babysplitters is about a modern American couple trying to weigh their aging biological clocks, desires to have children, yet apprehension of giving up their free time and lack of savings. It’s like a laundry list of all the reasons why people claim Millennials aren’t having kids.
Jeff and Sarah Penaras (Danny Pudi and Emily C. Chang) are getting older and making excuses for why they aren’t with kids yet. Jeff is stuck at a great paying job he hates, while meter-maid Sarah spends her time getting into arguments with angry parkers. Their social circle has dwindled as their friends all have kids and disappear, to the point where their only regular hangout partners are fellow childless couple Don and Taylor Small (Eddie Alfano and Maiara Walsh). Jeff comes up with an idea about a startup that lets people split babies. We’re not going King Solomon on this baby, it’s more like a time share. This idea starts to grow on him, and mix one part a couple with reservations and one part a couple with a medical impossibility to have a baby, and you got yourself a baby sharing arrangement!
Babysplitters is the type of comedy where things become awkward and uncomfortable for people, and just get more and more uncomfortable as things get more ridiculous. It’s not a laugh out loud funny, but the type of funny where things build up more and more. Many of these situations could have been avoided had the couples been better at communicating their own feelings and not falling into peer pressure despite being obviously uneasy. Things get off the rails very quickly and that’s just the beginning as the two couples get further and further into chasing the dream. Needless to say, the fantastic idea soon runs into many unforeseen complications that threaten to ruin everything, from the plan to friendships to the marriages themselves. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but just imagine every possible thing that could go sideways and you will begin to get an idea of the consequences.
Clocking in at over two hours, Babysplitters has a lot to say, and a lot of extra things to say. It could probably make due with a bit of a trim, as a lot of the tangents have little to do with the babies and more to do with just the general malaise of modern living. There are a few scenes that seem to go on forever, but that’s also partially how those scenes work. Jeff manages to get his dream job at work, only to find out that it also sucks, pays less, and makes him way more tired after work, a problem with a pregnant spouse. There is a very long and complicated scene when Jeff and Sarah visit a friend couple that does have kids, it spirals out of control and then keeps spinning and spinning long after Homer has beaten the Krusty Burglar to death.
Despite that, Babysplitters affected me the most as we are also at a similar age and position in life where it is babymaking time, and yet… While our journey will surely have a different conclusion than this tale, it was neat to see something that handled this topic with a bunch of humor and came at it from many angles. If you like weird, uncomfortable comedy, then Babyspliters will be your jam!
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