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J. C. Wyatt is at home with meeting rooms to domineer.
She works nonstop, does not slow down, and is obsessed with her career.
She learns a long-lost cousin died and left her something in his will;
It’s not a million dollars but a little girl, who’s quite a pill.
 
This baby named Elizabeth proves difficult to supervise,
And J. C. and her boyfriend are not pleased at all with this surprise.
J. C. attempts to have somebody else adopt the little tot,
But when a chance at last arrives to give her up, J. C. cannot.
 
Though choosing to become a mom, she thinks that she can be the same
And keep the schedule that she kept before this lovely baby came.
Her boyfriend cannot take this change and leaves without a second thought;
At work as well, her bosses see she seems distracted and distraught.
 
Another moves in on her job while she’s engaged with baby stuff,
And when she’s offered a demotion, she decides it’s not enough.
Kicking off all New York’s dust, she and the baby move away
Into a charming country home in Hadleyville, Vermont, one day.
 
But charm won’t get her very far, and soon the house starts breaking down.
She soon is sick of bad news from the only handyman in town.
Once J. C. yells and has a faint, she wakes up to a handsome vet;
Still on edge, she yells some more and isn’t smitten by him, yet.
 
All through the winter, J. C. makes her homemade baby applesauce
Which flourishes into a business with J. C. as her own boss.
Through her experience and work (since she has nothing else to lose),
Her “Country Baby” brand’s a hit, with catalogs and interviews.
 
Once Jeff the vet and she pair up and she’s no longer in distress,
She gets a call from her old boss who wants to buy her grand success.
With lots of money on the line, she thinks a bit but turns him down.
She likes her country baby now, her country man and country town.
_________________________
 

Baby Boom is a fine comedy and the highest film on my list starring Diane Keaton. My VC doesn’t really like her as an actress, but she still likes the movie overall. Keaton gives a nicely frazzled performance as J. C. Wyatt, an experienced career woman who’s inexperienced at child rearing, and this role seems to fit her, considering she’s never married or had kids but has adopted.

The film tries to make some kind of statement about women and the important pieces of life that are often ignored for the sake of a career, namely love and children. This message succeeds mainly in showing that a baby does indeed ”change everything” and that, regardless of all the headaches they may put parents through, the adorable love they offer makes up for it all, as J. C. realizes.

Nonetheless, I was disappointed that the adult “love” department consisted mainly of just sex. At the beginning she’s living with a guy (the late Harold Ramis in a great bit role) who clearly doesn’t love her enough, and by the end, she’s…again living with a guy (Sam Shepard) who may be more kind and understanding but could still be there for the short run. Thus, the film endorses the benefits of raising a child but gives no such esteem to marriage, which used to come first. Call me old-fashioned, but this just bothers me.

The main strength of the film is the comedy. Some of it is a tad annoying, such as the supposedly professional businesswoman J. C. turning into a frenetic klutz once the baby arrives to distract her; it’s no wonder her bosses demoted her. Other scenes are classic. Her interviews with various nannies possibly influenced a similar scene in Mrs. Doubtfire six years later, and the handyman’s incessant “Yeps” and “Nopes” remain a running gag in cartoons and my everyday speech to this day. It’s a shame that J. C. probably couldn’t have started her business in our presently over-regulated country (trust me, I’ve tried to start a business), but it was encouraging to see her efforts rewarded, however unrealistically. Add that to J. C.’s awesome mental breakdown and the satisfying ending, plus the lovely Vermont countryside and the light-hearted Bill Conti score (which are both definitely reminiscent of the then-current show Newhart), and Baby Boom becomes one of the enduring comedies of the 1980s.

Best line: (you guessed it, the laconic handyman’s immortal line for almost every question) “Uhh, yep” and “Uhh, nope.”

 
Artistry: 6
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 8
Watchability: 9
Other (brief language and aforementioned issues): -3
 
TOTAL: 35 out of 60
 

Next: #262 – Won’t Back Down

© 2014 S. G. Liput

 

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