Wednesday, 21 October 2020
Baby Done: Film Review
Cast: Rose Matafeo, Matthew Lewis
Director: Curtis Vowell
Less a comedy, more a drama that lacks a little bite, the relatively predictable Baby Done treads a path for its protagonist and New Zealand film seldom glimpsed before.
A bright and perky Matafeo plays Zoe, an arborist who deplors the constant baby showers of her friends and who vows never to become a mum just because everyone else is doing it.
However, fate deals her and boyfriend Tim (former Harry Potter star Lewis aka Neville Longbottom) a two line shaped hand, and sends Zoe into a spiral of denial...
There is heart in Baby Done; however, promising a riotous comedy and then delivering anything but is a minor disappointment. In truth, there are some laugh out loud moments, indications of where the cast is allowed to go off script, cut loose and generally have fun. Drawn from the well of real-life couple Vowell and writer Sophie Henderson, there's veracity in the film's veins, even if there's not gut-busting moments expected of a comedy.
Stand-outs like Rachel House's snooty school principal riffing with Matafeo's Zoe, a mistimed confetti bomb and the all-too-brief wearied ante-natal class teacher (Alice Snedden) are sequences that give Baby Done a bit more life when proceedings start to sag - but they do also remind what could have been if the tone was a little more concisely honed.
That said, Matafeo and Lewis make a nice ordinary couple, one who are at pains to cope with the direction their lives are suddenly going on. Lewis delivers dependable and solid, who runs toward the idea of being a dad rather than away (a genre trope nicely subverted). Matafeo's Zoe has energy, and affability as the story coasts along - but she's an easy companion to tag along with, and carries the film through its more uneven and underwritten edges.
All in all, Baby Done doesn't quite deliver on its promise and there are one too many pregnant pauses in its execution, but it does offer a protagonist who wants to behave badly and fight against the societal expectations of expectant mothers. It could do with a dash more freewheeling, but it does deliver a star turn from Matafeo to enjoy.
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