Baby Boom (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Charles Shyer|
|Music by||Bill Conti|
|Cinematography||William A. Fraker|
|Edited by||Lynzee Klingman|
|Distributed by||MGM/UA Communications Co.|
|Box office||$26 million|
Baby Boom is a 1987 romantic comedy film directed by Charles Shyer, written by Nancy Meyers and Shyer, and produced by Meyers and Bruce A. Block for United Artists. It stars Diane Keaton as a yuppie who discovers that a long-lost cousin has died, leaving her a fourteen-month-old baby girl as inheritance.
The film received generally favorable reviews and was a modest box-office success during its original run, eventually grossing $26 million. The film launched a subsequent television show, running from 1988 to 1989, and was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.
J. C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) is a driven Manhattan advertising executive, committed to her demanding and high-profile job on Madison Avenue. She lives with her boyfriend Steven Buchner (Harold Ramis), an investment banker. They both are happily focused on their careers, and even too busy for a vacation together, and no interest in having children. Notified that her cousin has died and left her a bequest, J.C. is shocked to discover that her "inheritance" is the cousin's orphaned toddler, Elizabeth.
Unwilling to disrupt her hectic life and also clueless about childcare, J.C. arranges to give the child up for adoption, but she grows attached to Elizabeth, forcing J.C. to re-evaluate of her priorities. She decides to become a working parent and to raise Elizabeth herself, something Steven has no desire to partake in. They amicably break up, and he moves out. J.C.'s boss, Fritz Curtis, offers her a chance to be made a partner at the firm. C.E.O. Hughes Larrabee is interested in having J.C. manage the account of his major company, "The Food Chain". Adjusting to life with Elizabeth, J.C. lands the account, and her protegé Ken Arrenberg is assigned to her team.
Struggling to balance her work and home life, J.C. hires a series of nannies and enrolls Elizabeth in early development classes, as parenthood soon occupies much of her time. When she discovers Ken making decisions without her input, J.C. tells Fritz she wants him off her team. To her surprise, Fritz informs her for the good of the company, Ken will be in charge of the account and J.C. will be reassigned to a lower-profile client, allowing her to spend more time with Elizabeth. Postponing her promotion, Fritz explains that he too was forced to choose between his career and his family.
Humiliated, J.C. quits, and moves with Elizabeth to a farmhouse in Vermont site unseen. By winter, she is strapped with escalating repairs needed to her new home, running out of money and patience, and overwhelmed with loneliness. After suffering a nervous breakdown, she meets local veterinarian Dr. Jeff Cooper (Sam Shepard). Desperate to return to New York, she considers burning down her house, but she begins spending her time making and selling her homemade "gourmet" baby food, which soon grows into a full-fledged business, "Country Baby". As her business expands and orders start pouring in from all over the country, J.C. and Jeff strike up a romance.
Later, Fritz reaches out to J.C. with an offer from The Food Chain to acquire Country Baby, and she returns to her former firm to meet with Larrabee and her former colleagues. They lay out the multi-million dollar deal to buy her company and distribute its products nationwide, and offering her a lucrative salary with a Manhattan apartment, and other benefits. Ready to accept and that she would be back into her original powerful and prestigious former life in corporate career of New York, J.C. has a change of heart and declines the Fritz's offer. J.C. is confident she can grow her company herself and not willing to sacrifice her relationship with Elizabeth and Jeff. She returns home to Jeff and Elizabeth in Vermont, content with her new life as active mom, girlfriend, and the C.E.O of her own multi-dollar growing business.
- Diane Keaton as J.C. Wiatt
- Sam Shepard as Dr. Jeff Cooper
- Harold Ramis as Steven Buchner
- Sam Wanamaker as Fritz Curtis
- James Spader as Ken Arrenberg
- Pat Hingle as Hughes Larrabee
- Britt Leach as Verne Boone
- Annie Golden as a Nanny
- Linda Ellerbee as Narrator
- Kim Sebastian as Robin
- Mary Gross as Charlotte Elkman
- Kristina & Michelle Kennedy as Elizabeth Alice Wiatt
- Victoria Jackson as Eve
The film debuted at #3 at the domestic box office, behind Fatal Attraction and Hello Again. It earned a respectable USD$1,608,924 in its opening weekend in the U.S. and earned approximately $26,712,476 in its entire run.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 76% based on reviews from 33 critics, with an average rating of 6.19/10. On Metacritic it has a score of 53% based on reviews from 9 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Janet Maslin of The New York Times said that the film "isn't much more than a glorified sitcom, but it's funny, and it's liable to hit home." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times said that the filmmakers were "not afraid to be sophisticated and screwballish in the best ‘30s tradition, and they know just how far to exaggerate for laughs without leaving touch with reality entirely or destroying sentiment. The humor in “Baby Boom” is sharp without being heartless." Roger Ebert, gave the film three out of four stars, and said that "all of [the film's storyline] is too good to be true, of course, but that's why I enjoyed it." "Baby Boom" makes no effort to show us real life. It is a fantasy about mothers and babies and sweetness and love, with just enough wicked comedy to give it an edge. The screenplay, written by producer Nancy Meyers and director Charles Shyer, has some of the same literate charm as their previous film, "Irreconcilable Differences," and some of the same sly observation of a generation that wages an interior war between selfishness and good nature."
Diane Keaton's performance was singled out by Pauline Kael from The New Yorker, who described it as "a glorious comedy performance that rides over many of the inanities in this picture (...) Keaton is smashing: the Tiger Lady's having all this drive is played for farce and Keaton keeps you alert to every shade of pride and panic the character feels. She's an ultra-feminine executive, a wide-eyed charmer, with a breathless ditziness that may remind you of Jean Arthur in The More the Merrier."
Baby Boom's writers combat a one-dimensional review in which American journalist, writer, and university professor Caryn James expresses her distaste in J.C. "abandon[ing] a high-powered Manhattan career for the joys of life in Vermont with a baby and Sam Shepard." The article, published on August 13, 1989 by the New York Times, explains how J.C.'s search for equality prompted her to leave her elite New York position. According to its writers, Baby Boom depicts "the increasing prejudice women face today" stereotyped into two categories - the sweet caregiver or the self-reliant businesswoman - and aims to destroy that outdated mindset.
- Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical - Diane Keaton (Nominated)
- Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical (Nominated)
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress - Diane Keaton (Nominated)
- American Comedy Awards Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture - Diane Keaton (Nominated)
The film debuted strongly on VHS.
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- Jack Mathews (November 19, 1987). "He Wants to Add New Pages to UA's Illustrious History". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- Voland, John (November 10, 1987). "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- John Voland (October 20, 1987). "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- Baby Boom at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Baby Boom". Metacritic. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
- Maslin, Janet (October 7, 1987). "Film: 'Baby Boom'". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- Thomas, Kevin (October 7, 1987). "Film Review : Satire That Lowers The 'Baby Boom'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- Ebert, Roger (October 7, 1987). "Baby Boom". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- Kael, Pauline (November 16, 1987). "Baby Boom". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- James, Caryn (August 13, 1989). "FEMINIST HEROINES; Women As Victims". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
- "Baby Boom (1987) Awards". imdb.com. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
- Dennis Hunt (May 26, 1988). "Video Charts : Babies Booming, 'East L.A.' Rising". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-04.