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Baby Banter

It's like His Girl Friday, with slightly more semen-related humor.

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What a nice, good-looking couple. Why, they should just be out there making babies together, populating the world with nice, good-looking kids.

But he’s kind of neurotic and very controlling, and she’s much more adventurous and sort of aloof. That’s probably why, after all these years, they’re still just pals who get together only for a meal or a chat.

They’re not dating anyone else, and that’s fine with him. But that sound she’s hearing is the ticking of her maternal clock, and one day she announces that she’s going to get pregnant and is beginning a search for the right sperm donor. “What about me?” asks Wally (Jason Bateman), with puppy dog eyes.

“No, that probably wouldn’t work out,” says Kassie (Jennifer Aniston), her mind quickly made up.

The title of the film says it all. Kassie finds a suitable donor – a full-of-himself guy named Roland (Patrick Wilson) – and throws a “getting pregnant party” where Wally overdoes the scotch, finds Roland’s already filled “sample” cup, and ...

And whatever happened, he’s too drunk to remember.

Cut to seven years later. Long-gone Kassie returns to town with 6-year-old Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) who, it’s slowly revealed, has a number of traits (neuroticism among them) that are oddly similar to those of Wally.

It’s largely an exercise in nicely delivered, fast-paced banter, filled with problems and resolutions, some hearty laughs, and just enough sexual innuendo (much of it revolving around photos and mentions of Diane Sawyer).

There’s no doubt where it’s heading and no doubt how it’s going to end.

Thankfully, it takes all kinds of unexpected routes to get there.

There’s a nude production of Hamlet, an adventure with lice, another big party. There’s also proof that Bateman, always the dependable supporting actor, makes a terrific leading man, and that Aniston has successfully completed her transformation from TV to the screen. Bateman also makes everyone around him, whether adult or kid, shine in a series of two-character scenes. The best of them are with Jeff Goldblum, playing his boss-confidante Leonard, with Goldblum edging him out in comic reaction timing.

A bit of light drama pops up near the end and is handled with care. Alas, so do a couple of tired examples of pop music montages. But all works out just right in areas of cuteness. The film is very sweet, but never mushy.

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