Review

Miss Conception Review

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Jun 06, 2008 | 5:01am EDT

Georgina (Heather Graham) is a 30-something Brit who worries that the impending onset of early menopause means she will never be able to give birth something she is itching to do. Unfortunately Zak (Tom Ellis) her boyfriend of six years is not ready to be a father. This causes a major conflict in their relationship forcing him to move out while she commiserates with best friend Clem (Mia Kirshner) and gay pal Justin (Orlando Seale). When she is given (false) reason to believe Zak has started playing around with an associate she takes it as license to begin a desperate four-day quest to find a man--ANY man--to get her pregnant before its too late. This leads her to fertility clinics nightclubs the Internet funerals strip clubs--even her own employees at the construction company she runs. She even resorts to a turkey baster at one point exclaiming “I can’t believe the potential father of my child is a kitchen utensil” (we’re not making this up!) Will she get pregnant? Will she and Zak get back together? If you don’t know the answer you have never taken Romantic Comedy 101. Milwaukee-born Graham pulls a Renee Zellweger and dons a British accent á la Bridget Jones to play a woman whose maternal instincts are on overload and biological clock running out. Graham is an attractive actress who has never gotten her due but she won’t be getting it here playing a character who is so silly and clueless that you wonder why her boyfriend even bothered to stick around six years in the first place. We’d like to root for Graham but the sheer shrillness and single-mindedness of Georgina is so annoying it’s hard to imagine any woman being able to identify with her especially as she is willing to let just about any Tom Dick or hairy guy help her conceive the child she says she craves. So much for bringing a kid into a healthy environment! Ellis as Zak is not given much to do except look perplexed (we feel your pain) while another non-Brit Mia Kirshner (Showtime’s The L Word) does her best British impression in the standard best friend role. Everyone else is pretty much one dimensional stereotypes used as props in her quest for motherhood at any cost. There is a germ of a decent idea in Miss Conception that should have played as an all-out raunchy over-the-top comedy. But director Eric Styles seems more interested in doing a Four Weddings and a Funeral/Bridget Jones Diary-style flick which just doesn’t ring true in any sense of the word--and the “words” these actors are given don’t help the cause. “Women have needs and I need these needs to be tended to ” Graham whines to a potential donor. Oy. The recent Baby Mama proved that a similar concept could make a smart funny comedy but Miss Conception just doesn’t gel in any way shape or form. What Styles doesn’t seem to get is that we all know how a romantic comedy ends up but it’s how we get to that point that matters. This thing is a 103-minute chore to endure both for it’s target female audience and any poor guy dragged along. Its distributor is giving it only a limited release in theatres on a quick route to basic cable DVD hotel rooms and airplanes. If it turns up on your flight we suggest sitting next to the closest emergency exit.

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