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Baby Fat
2004 - - 90 Mins.
Director: James Tucker
Producer: James Tucker, Joshua Nelson
Written By: Joshua Nelson
Starring: Joshua Nelson, Martene Fallarco, Vince Mazza, Michael Massimino
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Official Site:

Husband and wife get ready to have a baby.
Imagine if you followed Marisa Tomei’s Mona Lisa Vito and Joe Pesci’s Vincent Gambini from ‘My Cousin Vinny’ back to their suburban home in Staten Island and you’d have the setting for ‘Baby Fat,’ a new indie comedy about a young Italian-American couple who decide to have a baby in a particularly unorthodox manner.

Joshua Nelson, who also wrote the script, stars as Joey, a sweet lug head in the mold of Matt Leblanc’s Joey Tribbiani. Joey’s beautiful wife, Gina, is a shrill Italian-American princess. Martene Fallarco, in her film debut, shows great comic chops as Gina (imagine a cross between Michelle Pfeiffer from ‘Married to the Mob’ and a *louder* Fran Drescher.) It also doesn’t hurt that Fallarco bears an uncanny resemblance to Mariah Carey, so when she’s throwing tantrums and flashing her long, meticulously painted fingernails, she’s bigger than life – the ultimate domestic diva bristling that her whipped husband isn’t jumping fast enough or high enough to please her.

Joey works in his uncle’s deli and begins to wonder why his wife is raging more than usual. She bitches about their marriage, demands that he reads poetry to her, and complains when he doesn’t notice her pedicure (she was wearing shoes but still felt he was unreasonable not to notice.) She even sends in her best friend to test his fidelity. With her glam razor-cut hair, painted nails, and weekly visits to the beauty parlor, Gina is as pampered and as high-strung as a groomed poodle. But Gina is worried that the romance is going out of their marriage. She decides she wants to have a baby. The twist is that Gina doesn’t want to go through an actual pregnancy because that would ruin her figure. Instead, she decides to audition actresses to hire a surrogate mom to sleep with her husband. Once a designated mother is chosen, can Gina deal with her husband having sex with a stranger? Can their family?

Much of the appeal of ‘Baby Fat’ comes from the machine gun rapid dialogue, sitcom-style ethnic humor and the chemistry and charm of its very funny cast – particularly its two attractive stars. With the heavy NuYawker accent full of dem’s and douse’s, it’s at times like a foul-mouthed version of ‘Married With Children' where language can’t disguise the affection within this louder-than-life Italian-American family. You just *know* that Joey and Gina are going to end up like Al and Peggy Bundy. (And in the grand tradition of Italian-American movies, there’s food present throughout the film.)

For an indie film, production values are pretty good. Director James Tucker, a seasoned veteran of a number of direct-to-video projects, gives ‘Baby Fat’ the feel of a TV pilot. There are a number of exterior shots of Manhattan and Staten Island to remind the audience that we're talking New York here! Flaws are few but notable. At times the ever-present Italian squeezebox soundtrack grates and the film occasionally plods – especially during the lengthy audition process - but there’s nothing that another pass through editing couldn’t fix.

Overall ‘Baby Fat’ is highly entertaining and a great showcase for Nelson’s considerable comic screenwriting talents. The guy knows how to write funny dialogue and this movie is all about revelling in language. It’s also a fabulous opportunity for Fallarco – her full-blooded histrionics are filled with the kind of brio that’s only seen in the best of, say, a ‘Mad TV’ or ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit. Funnier and sexier than ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ ‘Baby Fat’ has the makings of a cult hit.
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

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