Baby Mama appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. I feared that the compression involved would make this an ugly presentation, but the image actually looked pretty good.
Sharpness usually appeared acceptably accurate and detailed. At times, however, I found the image to come across as a little fuzzy and soft, with lesser definition seen in some of the wide shots. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, but I noticed some light edge enhancement at times. No print flaws materialized; the film remained clean and fresh.
In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden feel to things. Within those parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The image didn’t really excel, but it was good.
As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and that was all. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of comedy, and I got exactly what I anticipated. In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day. Surround usage stayed limited; the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but did no more than that.
In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.
Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as acceptably distinctive. This was a standard “comedy mix” and became a decent reproduction of the material.
Among the extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Michael McCullers, producer Lorne Michaels, and actors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific track. They talk about cast and crew, characters and performances, script and improvisation, sets and locations, and various anecdotes from the shoot.
Expect a light and lively commentary here. We find plenty of jokes – mostly from Poehler and Fey – along with a reasonable amount of movie-making information. This is never a particularly serious piece, but it fleshes out the movie in a satisfying manner. Left unexplained, however: why Poehler occasionally refers to Fey as “Betty”.
While the commentary appears on both sides of the disc, the others are side-exclusive. On the widescreen side, we find six Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Ending. The former fill a total of six minutes, 38 seconds, while the latter goes for two minutes, 30 seconds. The “Deleted Scenes” include “Using a Breast Pump” (1:02), “I Hope You’re Not Pregnant” (0:48), “The Truth About the Car” (0:36), “Finding a Pregnancy Test” (0:47), “Double Crossed” (1:35) and “The Baby Doesn’t Care” (1:13).
The “Alternate Ending” changes things to add another new member to Kate’s clan. Most of the “Deleted Scenes” offer extensions to existing material, while even the totally new clips still feel like add-ons to the final film. All are pretty entertaining, though, so they’re worth a look.
Saturday Night Live: Legacy of Laughter goes for a mere three minutes, 17 seconds as it features Fey, Poehler, McCullers, and Michaels. They discuss their SNL connections and their relationships in this short piece. It doesn’t tell us much, to be honest, but at least it includes some decent shots from the set.
Over on the fullscreen side, From Conception to Delivery: The Making of Baby Mama runs 10 minutes and six seconds. It features Fey, Poehler, McCullers, Michaels,
and actors Sigourney Weaver, Greg Kinnear, and Dax Shepard. “Delivery” looks at the film’s origins and development, cast, characters and performances, and the flick’s message. As with “Legacy”, there’s not much concrete information on display, but the behind the scenes bits add some value to it.
A few ads open each side of the DVD. On the widescreen side, we get clips for 30 Rock Season Two, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. The fullscreen side provides promos for Leatherheads, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and RL Stine’s Mostly Ghostly.
I hoped to find an excellent comedy from Baby Mama, but I ended up with a pretty good one. Though it becomes a mild disappointment, it remains amusing and entertaining enough to satisfy. The DVD provides acceptable picture and audio along with a few decent extras. While not a classic, Baby Mama is good enough to earn my recommendation.