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Maybe Baby (2000)

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 104 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15


Ben Elton, he of stand-up rants in the 1980s, spangly jackets and ‘Blackadder’, made the latest in a long line of questionable career moves with his decision to direct ‘Maybe Baby’, the big screen adaptation of his semi-autobiographical novel ‘Inconceivable’. If the film’s title isn’t enough of a clue as to the subject matter, then the book’s should be – it’s about an infertile married couple and the lengths they’ll go to to conceive a sprog. What a riot.

Now, having never read the novel, I can’t say whether Elton does indeed possess a mine of hilarious anecdotes on the anguish of being unable to have a child – but, if he does, his attempts to bring them to the screen can only be described as an abject failure. Quite simply, ‘Maybe Baby’ just isn’t funny.

Aside from the crippling lack of chuckle-worthy material, the film is horribly mis-cast, with Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson for some unfathomable reason deemed suitable for the two lead roles. Laurie, as BBC executive-turned-writer Sam, has always been a likable figure, particularly in his early ‘Fry and Laurie’ and ‘Blackadder’ days, but a major question mark continues to hang over his credentials as a “proper” actor. Richardson, meanwhile, is downright abysmal, delivering every line as if it were scripted in hieroglyphics and she was having to decipher each individual word as and when she read it.

Possibly the worst aspect of the film, though, is the deeply distasteful turn the plot takes as Sam decides to raid his wife’s diary and turn her most private (if not particularly insightful) thoughts into a movie screenplay. Perhaps in a drama it would have worked, but in a film otherwise trying to come across as a fairly light middle-class comedy about two basically nice people, it just feels out of place and more than a little nasty.

‘Maybe Baby’ may feature a good-looking cast, but it’s an ugly film, smug in its handling of a sensitive subject and charmless in every department. One to be missed.

It's Got: A title track sung by Paul Mc-bloody-Cartney.

It Needs: To dump the digs at the BBC – coming from Elton, who’s had plenty of stepping stones from them over the years (including the co-funding of this very film), it just seems a little hypocritical.

DVD Extras Trailer, director’s commentary, and cast & crew interviews. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10


Maybe not.