By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Chuck Wilson
Starring former and current "Weekend Update" co-anchors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as uptight, terminally single executive Kate and her vulgar South Philly surrogate womb Angie, respectively, Baby Mamaopens the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23 with a heavy dose of studio mainstream. Chugging Big Gulps and bingeing on Tastykakes, Poehler's Angie is giddy and grave in equal measure, trampling all over Kate's bobo ideals—even urinating in her fancy-pants apartment's bathroom sink—while slowly coming to terms with her own, perhaps more limited options.
With a long resume of supporting roles, from Blades of Gloryto Southland Tales, and seven years of SNLunder her braided belt, Poehler, 36, is now the star—and acting like it. Wrapped in a promotional Baby Mamablanket at the Ritz-Carlton, Poehler, who lives in the city with her husband Will Arnett, talked to the Voiceabout her incredible fame, the wonders of eyelid-replacement surgery, and how Rachel Dratch will one day own Graydon Carter.
So . . . a press junket at the Ritz-Carlton.
This is my life. You can't see me, but what people should know is that right now I'm giving this interview in a solid-gold Jacuzzi, and we've got a giant floating tray of pineapple in between us. I've got six assistants, none of whom have made eye contact with me—they're not allowed to. I've got a record on from this band that no one's heard of yet. The band doesn't even know they exist yet—they're that indie. I've got a limo waiting outside that's going to take me straight to a massage party, and then . . . well, I just got my pilot's license, so I'm going to get the old bird up in the sky and I'm just going to see New York. That's the way I roll. So . . . Ritz-Carlton press junket? Kinda slumming it! No, it's fun. In all honesty, joking aside . . . I am in a Jacuzzi.
In the film, Tina plays straight man to your incorrigible goofball. Do you two have a similar dynamic in real life?
I'm not as reckless as Angie, and Tina's not as uptight as Kate. We're probably much more alike than we are different. She grew up in Philly, I grew up in Boston—so we're both kind of blue-collar girls. We did meet each other in 1993 in Chicago, and back then, I was rocking Doc Martens—I just checked to see if you're wearing Doc Martens, but you're not; you're wearing really cute boots—a high-waisted jean with navy braided belt, a lot of flannel shirts. I would always wear mine tucked in, which was always a good look. I did not shave my legs; I didn't pluck my eyebrows. Nowadays, I don't have any eyebrows—this is all fake. And I got eyelid surgery, so these are someone else's eyelids. I Botox my eyeballs—you can do it yourself if you're not skittish. I got an eye-tuck and a nose-blast and a face peel and a head . . . shift.
One thing that surprised me about Baby Mama was how important class is to the plot.
That was a theme we wanted to play around with. Angie, my character, has more in common with Oscar, the doorman, than she does with Kate. They just both understand what it's like to be working really hard for a living. When you have money, you have more choices, and class is a big deal. You have to have money to pay someone if you want to have them carry your baby. You have to take money if you're going to carry a baby. I think that class issue lent itself to the tension and the comedy in the movie. It's like the comedy version of Reds. You know the movie Reds?
I've heard of it.
It's this great Warren Beatty story, a five-hour drama about the Russian Revolution. This is a comedy—Reds. This is a comedy—Hoop Dreams. This is a comedy . . . you know that song "Allentown" by Billy Joel? It's like that.
Baby Mama is set in Philadelphia, and it deals a lot with issues of gentrification and the changing face of the city. How important was the setting to the story?
Philly just felt like the right town, a place where you could get a sense of both Kate's and Angie's worlds. But we faked Brooklyn as Philly pretty much the whole time. It was a really good match. It was fun to have a fake pregnancy belly in Brooklyn—even the hipsters had to turn when I took it off in the middle of the street and ripped off the Velcro. But they'd react in a really quiet hipster way.
Funny. Did you read the infamous Christopher Hitchens essay, "Why Women Aren't Funny?"
I didn't, but I think that story's an old story. Same thing with "SNL is a boy's club" or "SNL is dead"—they're all just kind of lazy headlines to me. Like "Headless Body Found in Topless Bar."
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