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Maybe baby

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Sam (Hugh Laurie) and Lucy Bell (Joely Richardson) are two smart, sexy, successful professionals who have everything they could possibly want, apart from the one thing Lucy really yearns for - a baby. Despite a carefully planned and energetic shagging schedule, New Age birthing rituals and sex on ley lines, IVF seems to be the only answer.

Saddled with writer's block, Sam finds the only thing less fertile than his balls is his imagination. Can things get any worse? Fast, funny and highly observed, Maybe baby is a romantic comedy that keeps you guessing until its final climactic twist.

Also starring Adrian Lester as George, James Purefoy as Carl Phipps, Tom Hollander as Ewan Proclaimer, Joanna Lumley as Sheila, Rowan Atkinson as Mr James, Dawn French as Charlene, Emma Thompson as Druscilla, Rachael Stirling as Joanna, Matthew Macfadyen as Nigel, Kelly Reilly as Nimnh, Stephen Simms as Trevor, Yasmin Bannerman as Melinda and Dave Thompson as Dave the comedian. Written and directed by Ben Elton from his novel Inconceivable.

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Hee, hee, hee, a funny little comedy for thirtysomethings in the noughties.

That means it's black, adult, intimate, close up and personal. Fortunately it's English so it works.

IVF debates and Little Johnny Howard's rosey-eyed view of nuclear families aside, Maybe baby takes itself seriously, but only as seriously as it has to. The terrible things that can happen to a sterile marriage and a sterile writer are writ large for all to see, as are the consequences, but Ben is nothing if not humourous so the sometimes delightful, sometime painful joke that is life is paid equal obeisance. Like being paged in the middle of a meeting to have sex with your wife because she's at the first stage of ovulation, getting on your motorbike and doing it, then returning to the meeting to find the same old, same old of meetings the world round.

Hugh is a delight, his well known over the top comedic performance is toned right down until he's just an English chap with an ability to see the ridiculousness of life. And he plays jazz piano. Did you know that? What a talented boy. He works wonderfully with the more serious and stoic Joely, whose preoccupation with her body (rather than her marriage) teaches her many things about herself but not about her husband. Meanwhile, James, the original "Dark River" is great as a smarmy, self-centred actor (ooops, is that a tautology?) with no time for morals that interfere with achieving his goals.

All the really famous people are cameos but you'll get over that now that you're forewarned.

If you're sort-of-thirty, vaguely in a relationship or faintly parentish you'll get a great kick out of Maybe baby. And if you think it's a bit like Ab fab meets The Bill, well, it is England, innit?

Security censorship classification


Surveillance time

99 minutes (1:39 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

17 August 2000

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