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|Category||Romantic Comedy||Main Menu Audio
Interviews - Cast and Crew
Notes - Novel
Biographies - Cast
Theatrical Trailer - 1.85:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:14)
Notes - CD
|Running Time||100:33 minutes|
|Case||Transparent Soft Brackley|
|RPI||Rental Only||Music||Colin Towns|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
That is not to say that I disliked Maybe Baby, as I did find it quite enjoyable. What it does mean is that unlike Notting Hill which regularly makes an appearance in my player, often late at night when the melancholy mood hits, this is not a film that is likely to make regular appearances in the same manner. Considering it stars an actress that for some reason I find quite appealing, that is saying something. To be honest, I think part of the reason is because debut director Ben Elton did not quite get control of the film and some of the sub-plots could have been excised with ease without losing the integrity of the film. Still, it was based on his book Inconceivable so I guess he can make whatever decisions he likes about the screenplay.
The broad story here is about Sam (Hugh Laurie) and Lucy Bell (Joely Richardson). He is a struggling script writer working at the BBC and she is an agent at an artistes representative agency. Lucy is desperate for a child and has Sam hopping to the task at the drop of a hat. Sam is perhaps not so desperate for a child but nonetheless does his best to serve Lucy's needs. However, after much lack of success, it is clear that something is amiss and so alternatives to plain old sex are warranted. And so we find the Bells resorting to such unlikely remedies as aromatherapy, courtesy of slightly wacky Druscilla (Emma Thompson), and shagging on the leylines of Primrose Hill. Even consulting the slightly wackier gynaecologist Mr James (Rowan Atkinson) fails to improve the pregnancy situation and so the IVF program is the last resort. Of course whilst all this is going on Sam is having problems at the BBC and rapidly finds himself in need of a script with which to resurrect his career. Blessed with chronic writer's block, he resorts to writing a script about something he knows all too well - the fun to be had by an infertile couple trying unsuccessfully for a child. Lucy on the other hand has to endure the attentions of a new client in Carl Phipps (James Purefoy), adding just a little more distraction to the situation. Through the inspired writing of Sam, his film comes to pass and goes into production with Ewan Proclaimer (Tom Hollander) at the helm, whom Sam has previously had a run in with over a script Ewan pitched to the BBC and which Sam turned down. The rest is left for the film.
Whilst I would hardly call the screenplay a masterpiece, it certainly has its moments and overall I cannot help but feel that had this been put into the hands of a more experienced director, the result would have been somewhat more engrossing than here. A bit of judicious trimming and perhaps a bit more development of certain parts of the film would have provided far greater reward for the viewer. However, it has to be said that the underlying huge dig at the BBC certainly was handled brilliantly by Ben Elton and this fair old backhander at that staid old organization is a clear highlight of the film. The casting here is also perhaps not quite the best, but they give it a decent go as far as making the film work. Hugh Laurie was his usually reliable self and Joely Richardson was not that bad at all. The main problems are the almost cameo appearances of Emma Thompson and Dawn French. Emma Thompson's role was almost superfluous to the film and could cheerfully have been excised. In the end it came over as a friend helping out another friend by allowing her name to be used to generate interest in the film. On the other hand Dawn French's role was one that could have been expanded somewhat as she is a genuinely funny part of the film. As indicated, this is the directorial debut for Ben Elton and it does show a little. Nonetheless, there is enough here to indicate that he may have some future in not just writing comedy but also in directing it.
Maybe Baby is certainly not a classic of a film but it has its moments, even if they tend to be a little too few to keep the comedy level up high. It has certain plusses, not the least of which is Joely Richardson in assorted underwear or less, but this is not the sort of film that is going to generate queues out the video store door. This is an average film that is maybe worth a rent if you have seen all the better romantic comedies available at the video store, but there really are many better than this around in Region 4.
The transfer has a dullish, flattish look to it that is most disappointing. The overall look is just a little diffuse and actually reminds me an awful lot of the generally flattish and slightly out-of-focus look that annoys me so much when I do occasionally visit our local cinema. It is by no means unwatchable, but it just seems odd that this is not a lot sharper than it is. Detail suffers a little as a result and at times there is not a huge depth of field to the image. Shadow detail is okay, but mainly because it does not come into play that often. The clarity of the transfer is decent, not exactly crystal clear and with just the odd hint of grain to add into the mix. There did not appear to be any significant low level noise problems with the transfer.
In keeping with the overall feel of the transfer, the colours are just a little on the muted side throughout. Whilst the overall result is not entirely displeasing, and at times is quite reasonably natural-looking, I would have expected just a little more brightness to the colours. There is nothing in the way of oversaturation here - since undersaturation seems to be the norm - and you can forget colour bleed. Certainly skin tones are quite well-handled.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not appear to be any significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There is not much in the way of film artefacts in the transfer, befitting the recent vintage of the film.
This is a single layer, single sided DVD and I cannot
help but wonder whether the softness of the transfer is the result of slightly
insufficient space for data compression of this reasonable length film.
This is especially the case when one considers the reasonable extras package
on the DVD. Perhaps this would be better served by remastering into a dual
The dialogue comes up well in the soundtrack and is always easy to understand. There did not seem to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.
The original music score comes from Colin Towns and the fact that I cannot really remember a fat lot about it would indicate that it was not especially memorable. The theme song is a remake of the old Buddy Holly hit done by Paul McCartney - it's amazing what you can get done when you call up a few friends!
Within the context of what is offered in the way
of a soundtrack, there is nothing much to worry about. Obviously lacking
anything in the way of surround and bass channel use, it does what it is
asked to do pretty well, albeit in a somewhat undistinguished manner.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
25th January 2001
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|