While it is certainly not the sort of film that we have not seen before, Baby Done is warm in spirit and tone, funny enough and concise. Baby Done’s time-worn tropes, plot mechanics and characterizations feel familiar and comfortable rather than tired and overused. And while there is more to a successful film than a bit of novelty, this film still manages to offer up something new and unusual to the jaded cinephile, specifically its setting (modern-day New Zealand) and its star, prominent Kiwi comedienne and nascent actress Rose Matafeo.

Matafeo plays Zoe, a thrill-seeking arborist and aspiring competitive tree climber (for an idea of how lumberjack duties translate into sports, check this out) who discovers, much to her chagrin, that she is pregnant. She is at that age where all of her friends are starting to have babies, but she has no interest in joining them. She values her autonomy too much to be tied down by a crying infant. Her boyfriend and fellow arborist Tim (Matthew Lewis), while shocked by the news, is more willing to embrace the reality that a baby is on the way and his impending fatherhood.

The plot unfolds from this inciting event, with Zoe enfolding herself in ever deepening layers of denial and Tim growing increasingly excited about the transformation his life will be undergoing. Examined as a whole, there are no surprises within the plot of Baby Done. All of the conflicts that a viewer may anticipate with such a narrative arrive at their fairly standardized minute-mark in the runtime. What makes the film enjoyable is the array of daffy characters that Rose and Tim interact with during their pregnancy travails. There are all manner of dropouts, rave-girls, fetishists/perverts and school principals to bring some spice and variety to this straightforward affair.

Baby Done is light fare and brings lots of laughs, though it is rarely overtly funny. Its low-stakes atmosphere, happy ending (which is obviously coming, even from the start) and fast pacing make it stand out in the morass of overproduced, bloated films whose extreme runtimes cannot camouflage the fact that they are vapid schlock with nothing to offer (here’s looking at all 150 minutes of you, Wonder Woman 1984). Baby Done is not vacuous at all; it presents a thoughtful meditation on the odd, delayed proto-adulthood that so many millennials have been struggling through for the past several years. At ages where their parents had good, permanent jobs and multiple children, most millennials are still panickedly endeavoring to simply get by. Baby Done is one of the more worthwhile films to explore this topic, with its exploration enabled precisely because of its light tone.

Baby Done’s time-worn tropes, plot mechanics and characterizations feel familiar and comfortable rather than tired and overused.
63 %
Light but Poignant

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