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'Babes' movie review with Casey T. Allen

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Movie poster for the comedy "Babes"
Theatrical release poster

When an irreverent, feminist comedy premieres, it often seems like it's either terrible or wonderful. From Bad Moms (2017) to Bridesmaids (2011), or from terrible to wonderful, there isn't a lot of gray area. But the raunchy release Babes is a strong entry for this area.

Babes is a rated R tale of friendship between two inseparable women living in New York City, one a responsible, married, mother of two, and the other a single, free-spirit, yoga teacher. The actresses Ilana Glazer (Broad City, 2014-2019) and Michelle Buteau (Survival of the Thickest, 2023), who play these lifelong girlfriends, have been friends in real life for 20 years, so their snappy chemistry is not a surprise. Their comedic dialogue is smooth, swift, and unpredictable, making it a highlight of the film. The girlhood bond of these funny ladies is tested when the goofy, free-spirit, yoga teacher gets pregnant from a one-night stand and casually prepares herself for motherhood.

Babes is not a love letter to pregnancy but more of a middle finger to it by showing the pain and annoyance of breast pumps, bowel movements, nausea, and hiring a doula. The nine months of pregnancy are not a magical time of excitement, solidarity, and spiritual fulfillment. It's frustrating cutting off alcohol/coffee, feeling sexually unfulfilled, and enduring an amniocentesis procedure.

All of these hurdles could appear ordinary or boring were it not for Ilana Glazer's spunky and awkward style of humor. Her awkwardness is not shy, clumsy, or embarrassed but more joyful, confident, and eccentrically expressive. Her performance in this reminds me of Diane Keaton (Baby Boom, 1987) combined with the fictional Michael Scott from The Office TV show (2005-2013), and that's why viewers will enjoy this film.  

The scenes of serious, uncomfortable conversations are not as entertaining though, because they're not as committed or believable as the silly parts. The conflicts are discussed, and then resolved, so quickly I thought I was watching an unoriginal sitcom from the 90s. This inconsistency makes Babes good but not great (fitting well into that gray area). So it isn't the comedy hit of the year, or likely even the comedy hit of the season for that matter. But it's at least nice to watch a happy film celebrating autonomous women making families of all colors and sizes. I learned pregnancy is sometimes gross and scary, but it's much more manageable with a friend.


Casey T. Allen is a native of Utah who graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in English in 2007. He has worked in many capacities throughout USU campus and enjoys his time at UPR to continually exercise his writing.