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Maybe Baby (September 20/01)

Maybe Baby is an innocuous yet oddly charming little British film about a couple's relentless (and mostly fruitless) attempts at conceiving a child.

Joely Richardson (best known for appearing opposite Jeff Daniels in the live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians) and Hugh Laurie (Frederick Little in Stuart Little) star as Lucy and Sam Bell - the infertile couple. While most of the film is concerned with their efforts towards getting pregnant (including a visit to a wacky gynecologist, played by Rowan "Mr. Bean" Atkinson), a great portion of the story follows their individual methods of coping with this trying time. Sam, a frustrated BBC employee, begins work on a screenplay that revolves around an infertile couple - but neglects to tell Lucy. Meanwhile, Lucy finds herself falling for an exceedingly handsome and charming (he's so charming that not only does he speak several languages, he's a fan of aroma therapy) and must choose between the two men in her life.

Maybe Baby is peppered with comical subplots and goofy supporting characters (the most prominent - and humorous - of which is an over-the-top Scottish director named Ewan, who, when we first see him, is pitching an idea to Sam for a comedy based on the lives of homeless junkies. It's funny when he describes it), but the core of the film is the tender and tumultuous relationship between Sam and Lucy. Their struggle to not only conceive a child but also keep their relationship intact is a compelling one, if a little manipulative (Lucy invariably finds out about Sam's deception, but manages to find out at the worst possible moment for Sam).

Where Maybe Baby fails, though, is its sheer refusal to throw in any sort of a driving subplot. Writer/director Ben Elton insists upon having the charm of his actors propel the story forward and while that does work for a little while, you may find yourself checking your watch around the one hour mark.

But Maybe Baby does have a decent number of laughs and the two lead actors are very good in their roles, so this may be worth a trip to the movies.

out of

© David Nusair