Thursday, December 17, 2009

Movie review for your Thursday

It's been a difficult week. Luke, the baby I watch, is teething and refuses to sleep more than 40 minutes at a time. So he's tired and cranky and miserable as his mouth hurts, and that makes the day LONG. Just a couple more days, though, until the Christmas break for the schools, and then it will just be the three of us for about two weeks.

The rest of the kids are doing OK, but my husband has been out of town all week, so it just makes the days SO LONG. Luckily, Olivia and I have been able to keep ourselves occupied in the evenings. Joe will be home tonight, and we will be so happy to have him back.

Since Luke refuses to sleep unless he is held, I took the opportunity yesterday to sit and watch a movie I had DVR'ed. And then I deleted it. And here is why.

*The movie was "Baby Mama" and the following review contains major spoilers. You've been warned.*

So, I'd seen previews for "Baby Mama" when it was in the theaters, and it looked like it might be funny. A good way to kill some time while holding a baby, if nothing else.

The main story: A thirty-something single business woman (Tina Fey) wants to have a baby and finds out that she has a really screwed-up uterus, so she decides to hire a surrogate. I'm not an advocate for artificial reproductive technology (ART) in any form, but I could relate to the very basic human desires that motivated the character to end up in this arena. I don't judge the movie based on the centrality of ART.

The main character hires a surrogate who lives, shall we say, QUITE a different lifestyle than she does. The surrogate ends up living with the main character because she leaves her husband and needs a place to stay, which the main character is happy to provide for the woman who is gestating her child. Around this time, the main character meets the perfect guy and they start dating while she debates when to tell him about her surrogate and baby.

The surrogate does not end up getting pregnant through embryo transfer, but she lies and says that she is anyway. As she's trying to keep up this scam, she finds out that she is pregnant after all. It turns out that she got pregnant by her husband shortly after the transfer. But during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy, the main character and the surrogate end up forging a strange friendship, and the main character finds herself in the delivery room with the surrogate. Main character passes out at the sight of what is going on and ends up in her own hospital bed and a diagnosis of anemia because...SURPRISE! She is pregnant!

This movie struck me as slightly to mildly offensive to anyone who has ever struggled with infertility. ART aside (because that was SO not my issue with THIS movie), there were a lot of problems. Such as:

At one point in the movie, the main character was explaining to her family that she was pursuing surrogacy. Her sister asked if she'd considered adoption. Then her mother jumps in and says, 'You aren't going to adopt a black baby are you? I am so sick of watching these celebrities parade around with their black babies.' At which point I wanted to scream at the screen. That was SO UNNECESSARY and so offensive to all those families who have opened their hearts to children who don't look like them.

There were several instances where the cost and amount spent was mentioned. I know this is an issue, but too much of this talk (and the ART talk) reminds us how much babies have become a commodity in this society.

Finally, most offensive to me was the ending. Yes, I know that it happens in real life...people struggle and struggle and then stop trying and *BAM* they get pregnant. But please, that is the exception and not the rule and to throw this sugarplum ending in there just got me riled. Why can't we ponder the suffering a bit, or open up the character to other possibilities that lead to a happy ending. The adoption idea was dismissed by the character because of the amount of time it took to adopt as a single. And she wants a baby RIGHT NOW (commodity again). Or perhaps she and Perfect Guy will get married and THEN adopt. Or SOMETHING. Instead, she gets pregnant, shows up at surrogate's baby's first birthday party with a little baby and her boyfriend, who apparently proposes sometime during the final credits. It was all just too neatly arranged (and too out-of-order) for me.

That's just my opinion. I'm sure it would not be nearly as irritating to those who have not struggled with infertility.

Now I have to rescue a teething baby who is screaming hysterically in the bedroom and will quiet down magically as soon as I pick him up. I need more arms.

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