Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 31 minutes, Director – Curtis Vowell
On learning that she’s pregnant Zoe’s (Rose Matafeo) plans fall around her as she rushes to achieve her dreams, meanwhile her long-term boyfriend Tim (Matthew Lewis) stresses about the birth and fatherhood.
Rose Matafeo has easily established herself as one of the most in-demand recent stars of stand-up here in the UK. Now, back on home territory, she firmly establishes her acting chops with a show-stealing performance as mother-to-be Zoe. Zoe’s pregnancy comes as a shock to both her and her long-term boyfriend Tim (Matthew Lewis). The couple, who are perfectly happy not married – or engaged – and hold confused contempt for the likes of baby showers and events to reveal a baby’s sex, both worry about the prospect of becoming parents; just in different areas of their lives.
Zoe fears that a baby will prevent her from achieving her dreams. An accomplished tree surgeon her aims of attending world championships in Canada are scuppered by her pregnancy. While initially she tries to deny it claiming that “tapeworm can cause positive tests” panic soon sets in. Having seen many of her friends become distanced from her by achieving the alleged three goals of life – “marriage, house, baby, done” – she rushes to get everything done before it’s too late. Meanwhile Tim’s mind melts while rushing with hundreds of panicked thoughts about how good he’ll be as a father. He watches endless videos of people giving birth in any scenario to prepare himself for what may happen whenever the baby arrives – whether the pair are ready or not. With such differing views the couple begin to argue, a rift forms in their relationship, as the thought of looming parenthood brings their lives to a near halt.
The central pairing both deliver fine performances, however as the core focus of the film, who we seemingly spend the most time with, Matafeo is the true comedic force who steals the show. The frankness and yet light humour of her character go a long way in this mostly light-hearted New Zealand comedy. Far from holding a mean streak, the growing divide in the relationship is dealt with with enough sense of drama that the film never strays into the realms of farce or conventional rom-com. The duo – even as the final half hour begins and things become somewhat tangential for a brief amount of time – have good chemistry and work well together on screen. The sense of humour that they bring about together makes them an entertaining couple, definitely with their imperfections but this simply heightens the impact of their drifting apart as they worry about how they will change with a baby in their lives. And yet you stick with them throughout the pregnancy because of the humour carried throughout and the good-willed nature that the film holds for most of its short, if not always direct, run time.
Rose Matafeo truly steals the show with a light-hearted performance to match the tone of Baby Done. Lewis also gives a good turn that shows opposite worries for the pair in the relationship of two people fearing different things for when a baby they didn’t expect arrives through the well-divided comedy and drama.