Film

Preggoland Proves a Woman-Child Comedy Isn’t Any Better Than a Man-Child One

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Hungover, swigging from a cellphone-shaped flask, and not properly reverential toward the sanctity of motherhood, thirtysomething Ruth (Sonja Bennett) ruins a friend’s baby shower and gets cast out of her circle of friends, all of whom are married with children.

As directed by Jacob Tierney from a screenplay by Bennett, Ruth is a knockoff character from Bridesmaids, where boorish behavior and stunted emotional development equaled parity with masculine imperative. The problem here is that the other characters are either too thinly or sincerely drawn, often cliché-ridden without clever jokes to redeem them. Ruth comes across as less outlandish than gratingly stupid: After being mistaken for being pregnant, and garnering respect from family and friends who at best tolerate her, she fakes pregnancy with no exit plan.

There’s satiric comedy to be mined from the conflicting messages society still sends about pregnancy, motherhood, and women’s worth, but the script isn’t smart enough to explore them. This is a film that illustrates Ruth’s immaturity by showing her still living at home, working a crappy cashier’s job, and being too broke to pay bus fare to get to work. It’s 2015; those aren’t signs of immaturity, but of actual real life for too many adults.

As Ruth carries out her increasingly convoluted scheme, she falls in love with her uptight boss (love thaws him), strengthens friendships, and becomes her dad’s favorite, all with the clock ticking to the disaster waiting to happen when the truth comes out. Bennett is a winning screen presence deserving of better material than she’s given herself, while the supporting cast, including James Caan, Paul Campbell, and Danny Trejo, are fine in thankless roles.