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BABY BOOM

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of Diane Keaton’s best starring roles was in this comedy about feminism, and now you can see it on the big screen at the SCERA in Orem on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 10 a.m. My review was published in the Deseret News on Oct. 29, 1987.

Despite scene-stealing performances by Kristina and Michelle Kennedy, the cute-as-a-bug infant twins who alternately play Baby Elizabeth, I suppose “Baby Boom” is really Diane Keaton’s picture. And that’s no complaint.

Keaton has a real flair for physical comedy, though you may have forgotten that since her post-Woody Allen movies have been largely dramatic — “Crimes of the Heart,” “Little Drummer Girl,” “Shoot the Moon,” “Reds.”

So it’s a bit like coming home to see Keaton in “Baby Boom” and it’s a genuine pleasure to have her using that talent full force in the kind of successful romantic comedy that is all too rare these days.

“Baby Boom” is an unabashedly old-fashioned picture. You could almost see Myrna Loy or Jean Arthur or Carole Lombard playing Keaton’s role. Except that this is definitely an ’80s movie, as yuppie ad executive Keaton, who is about to win a partnership, suddenly finds herself saddled with a baby (which she inherits).

     

Diane Keaton and either Kristina or Michelle Kennedy, 'Baby Boom' (1987)

Keaton’s live-in boyfriend (Harold Ramis) moves out, her job begins to suffer because she must spend so much time with her child, and eventually she quits, leaves the big city and tries to make a life for her and her daughter in rural Vermont. And when her business instincts surface once more she becomes a self-made millionaire with her own homemade baby goods, meanwhile falling in love with the local veterinarian (Sam Shepard).

Fantastic? Unbelievable? Silly?

You bet.

But “Baby Boom” gets away with it because it is so funny, charming and undeniably entertaining from beginning to end.

This is not a movie to think about in terms of plot. This is a movie to simply enjoy for all its wonderful little moments: Keaton carrying little Elizabeth upside down as she races to a business luncheon, then checking her in at the coatroom; Keaton and Ramis trying to feed Elizabeth linguine and winding up with a pasta-coated kitchen; Keaton weighing Elizabeth on a produce scale to determine what size diapers she wears; and on and on it goes. There are so many screamingly funny, utterly enchanting scenes in this film that they carry the audience along, well past the implausibilities.

     

And through each and every one Keaton shines, her comedic talent making even funnier this very well written and directed film. The rest of the cast is also quite good, Ramis as a most unhip, self-obsessed yuppie; Shepard as a real country charmer; Sam Wanamaker as her less-than-understanding boss; James Spader as her arrogant young assistant; Pat Hingle as an important client; and especially Victoria Jackson (of TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), who does a very funny cameo as a babysitter.

“Baby Boom” is the product of a husband-wife collaboration. Charles Shyer and Nancy Myers both wrote the script, Shyer directed and Myers produced. Past credits include “Private Benjamin,” which they wrote and produced, and “Irreconcilable Differences, their first writing/producing/directing combination. Meyers also wrote “House Calls” and “Goin’ South,” among others.

Of those movies, “House Calls” is the best conceived and “Private Benjamin” the most popular, and the others certainly have their moments. But “Baby Boom” is by far the most consistently funny, and easily the most old-fashioned, despite the yuppie theme and sexual innuendo.

“Baby Boom” is rated PG for a few scattered profanities and some sex jokes, one of which includes some brief partial nudity.