STUDIO: First Look Pictures
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the Scenes featurette / Previews
Heather Graham has a four day window to get pregnant before the clock has tolled its last. Hijinks ensue!
Heather Graham, Mia Kirshner, Tom Ellis
White women, the powers that be want you to have babies! Now, whether you have it with a man, without a man, keep it, give it away to Jennifer Garner, it doesn’t matter, just have more white babies. Doubly so for those across the pond, where births are not even close to replacement levels. Which brings us to ‘Miss Conception’, a quaint British movie that is another entry into the ‘oh, isn’t having a baby so much fun, why isn’t everyone doing it?’ sub-category of romantic comedies that is light on both romance and comedy.
The lengths people will go to get to pregnant is staggering to the point that I’m surprised we are still around as a species. As one of the numerous non-parents in this world, it seems like a lot of work for something that will one day grow to resent you and everything you stand for. But Georgina (Heather Graham) will let nothing, not even her oh so handsome and very “manboy-ish” boyfriend, Zak (Tom Ellis), stand in the way between her and having a little shit factory of her own. And so what if she only has four days to do it in? She’s Heather Graham, and there is a line of men just waiting to sleep with her.
Graham, who’s been out of the spotlight in Hollywood for a while now, handles herself (and her English accent) well enough. There are no scenes requiring her to extend and test the more serious acting muscles, but she is fun, cheery and has a comedic timing that needs to be utilized more often. She could have easily fallen into the standard stereotype of a woman on “baby rabies”, but a combination of Graham’s joviality and some pithy lines make her sympathetic to even this cold-hearted, baby hating bastard. Add that she is often in various stages of undress and it’s hard to not watch her.
When the focus is not on Georgina and her baby shenanigans, the film drags. There are scenes involving Zak, a documentarian, and his assistant, Alexandra (Ruta Gedmintas) that are rote and dull even for this movie, as if they shoe-horned in Alexandra, who routinely attempts to sabotage Zak and Georgina’s relationship, just to give Zak something to do. I understand the need to keep our lovers separated for the running time; this is after all a 94 minute bomb counter, but director Eric Styles doesn’t care as much for Zak as he does for Georgina, and as such, we don’t care for him, either.
Mia Kirshner breathes some life as the best friend who concocts the entire ‘get pregnant now’ scheme, while your standard roster of “sitcomy” characters, the gay friend! the clueless mom! waltz in and out of Georgina’s life, all doing the job they’re supposed to do, no more, no less.
His attempt at gaining Sigourney Weaver’s attention was unsuccessful…for now.
The comedy never quite finds its mark, and while a small part can be attributed to the British nature of the humor, a lot is simply DOA. It very nearly strikes a perfect balance between sitcom and intelligent comedy, but never quite achieves it, erring more on towards the sitcom side of things, which is not its strength. A very ‘There’s Something About Mary’ moment tips the film into ridiculousness for an all too pointless scene. The romance, much like in ‘The Mexican’ keeps the protagonists apart for almost the entire running length, so we’re offered more sighs and longings than anything resembling an actual relationship.
Overall, ‘Miss Conception’ is a by the numbers romantic comedy that is elevated slightly by the presence and timing of Heather Graham. Sadly, director Eric Styles never strikes the correct tone, instead bouncing between comedy, drama, romance, farce, all wrapped inside a package that can best be called ‘Friends’-lite.
The movie looks nice and is presented in clear 16 x 9. The audio is glorious 5.1 Dolby Digital, and the subtitles are very handy, as the accents do sometimes force you to rewatch a scene to understand what just happened. From a technical standpoint, it’s a well put together little film.
The film features a ‘why even bother having it there’ behind the scenes documentary that I assume was done by the producer’s nephew. It gives a few insights into how the script came about and an interview with Kirshner, Graham and others. It lasts about ten minutes and then simply stops. A few previews for other films are present, but don’t worry, you haven’t heard of them, so you don’t have to feel like you missed them.