Babes (2024)

Babes Review

Babes (2024)

Most comedies are built on the gap between what we think we can control – our bodies, our words, our relationships and the messes they become. “Babes” is a big-hearted explosion of joy about that gap. Its characters are endearing in their vulnerability and irresistible in their performances and also with every possible bodily function and fluid.

This is an intelligent movie about women’s friendship. But before I talk about these incredible women, I want to say how nice it is that this film doesn’t trash men at all. The central male characters love the fabulous women they deserve in every way of loving, supporting or understanding them. Another man struggles with mental illness but makes his sincere feelings clear; no more needs said there either! Women aren’t brought together over some litany of complaints about guys who can’t commit or call taking care of their children “helping.” This movie loves all its characters so much that none have to be diminished.

Dawn (Michelle Buteau) is a dentist with an adoring husband (Hasan Minhaj as Marty), a four-year-old son and, at the start of the film, a daughter about to be born any minute now as she goes into labor. Her best friend since age 11 is Eden (Ilana Glazer, who wrote the script with her “Broad City” colleague Josh Rabinowitz), a yoga instructor.

What Buteau and Glazer do with Dawn and Eden is give us two people who know each other down to cellular level; their rhythm together feels effortless because it’s been practiced for decades. They’re not just supportive both are each other’s biggest cheerleaders; they’ve loved each other long enough that there’s nothing left to be curious or afraid about when it comes to even small stuff like whose turn it should be this year on Thanksgiving morning after 26 straight years going to see a movie together where Dawn’s water breaks in the theater and Eden has to look into her perineum to confirm. Of course she is Marty and Dawn wouldn’t have it any other way.

Then Eden gets unexpectedly pregnant after a one-night stand with Claude (a dreamboat played by the effortlessly charming Stephen James) who, as I mentioned, is quickly out of the picture and out of Texas forever. Dawn promises to be there for Eden as she always has been – but we can see on her face that something doesn’t quite compute when she assures her friend that this time around single motherhood will be no problem for either one of them, even though clearly it hasn’t occurred yet to Eden that such might not be the case. She doesn’t hear what I do in Dawn’s voice, just a hint of frostiness maybe when correcting “Black mother” (“You are not a Black mother. You are having a Black child”), but I do.

Dawn and Eden are no longer eleven. Like everyone juggling ‘the full catastrophe’ of relationships, their adult friendship has grown very complicated. The complication comes from the fact that Dawn is struggling with finding time for and emotionally handling two young children, returning to work, and dealing with a plumbing disaster in her apartment while Eden who is pregnant has only Dawn as a support system.

Each woman feels she has been let down by the other. And this is devastating because both of their systems of support are so fragile; even if they weren’t it would be devastating because it forces them to acknowledge that maybe their relationship couldn’t have been infinitely perfect after all.

However hard we try to smooth over the rough edges life will always leave us messy. Breasts don’t always produce enough milk. Babies do pee into your face sometimes – that’s just a thing that happens if you’re holding them above your head when they need to go. Being pregnant actually makes your hormones go completely nuts in the last trimester when some third party takes up residence inside you and starts shifting your center of gravity around until you don’t recognize yourself anymore as well as making certain kinds of worrying front-and-center concerns for at least another eighteen years.

But what this movie knows what we should know by now too – is that there’s nothing wrong with not being able to escape any of it. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned from G-d or whatever creator powers-that-be designed this universe it’s that life can find a way into anything anywhere anytime under any circumstances whether you like it or not… And so too can love and laughter find ways into all these messes: W.H Auden said “The funniest mortals, & kindest, are those who are most aware of the baffle of being … they don’t kid themselves our care is consolable but believe a laugh less heartless than tears.”

Watch Babes For Free On Gomovies.

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