By Richard Winters
My Rating: 5 out of 10
4-Word Review: Yuppie inherits a baby.
J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) is a successful businesswoman who has risen to the top of the corporate world by being quite literally ‘married-to-her-job’, which is just fine with her boss (Sam Wanamaker) as he is the same way and demands nothing less. Out-of-the-blue she gets a call that a distant relative has died and sent her an inheritance. She initially thinks it’s money only to find to her shock that it’s a baby girl instead. J.C. lacks any parenting skills and has difficulty even putting on a diaper, let alone knowing the right sized one to buy. Her annoyance slowly grows to bonding as she finds raising a young one has rewards far greater than her previous yuppie lifestyle could offer.
The premise for this thing is whacked. What kind of halfway normal parent would write a will that has their child shipped off to a distant relative that they haven’t had contact with since 1954 in the event of their death? Certainly there had to have been some close friend or family member that they knew of who would’ve been far more appropriate and could’ve been forewarned that they were the intended god parent. It’s almost like the parents just threw the child off a cliff and hoped someone down below would catch her.
The Harold Ramis character should’ve been chucked from the beginning. He plays her live-in boyfriend, but if someone is working 70 to 80 hours a week then they would have little time for a social life let alone a normal, healthy romantic relationship. The idea is to show that this character’s life is imbalanced, so might as well portray her as being alone and desperate need for genuine human contact making the baby’s presence all the more significant. Ramis disappears quickly as he bails on her the minute she decides to keep the kid, so why bother introducing him at all?
Although likable I didn’t feel Keaton was the best choice for the part. The character is given the nickname of ‘tiger lady’, but to me that would signify having traits that are cold, steely and bitchy, but Keaton never displays these. Cybil Shephard or Candice Bergen with her Murphy Brown persona would’ve been a better pick and made the character’s transition from cutthroat businesswoman to loving mommy all the more vivid.
The film does have some funny bits and the twin girls who play the part of the infant are cute and respond well to the camera. I even enjoyed when J.C. begins to bond with the girl, but Bill Conti’s musical score gets overplayed during these segments and his cutesy melody gives these otherwise touching moments too much of a heavy-handed feel.
I certainly liked the message, but writer/director Charles Shyer tries too hard to get it across. Having the character suddenly move out to the country seemed too severe of a shift. This is the type of person who thrived in a big city atmosphere and I don’t think she’d ever fully adjust to the slow pace of the rural lifestyle, which makes this plot twist, in a movie that goes on too long to begin with, come off as a misguided tangent that isn’t interesting or believable and the ending itself is too idealistic.
My Rating: 5 out of 10
Released: October 30, 1987
Runtime: 1Hour 50Minutes
Director: Charles Shyer
Studio: United Artists
Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video