As a true comedy auteur, Tina Fey’s acting has always come in tandem with her own writing. This double act has progressed from improv comedy at The Second City, to head writer for Saturday Night Live, to supporting player in the feature film Mean Girls, (for which she wrote the screenplay), and finally to executive producer and star of her own sitcom 30 Rock.
Baby Mama, written and directed by Michael McCullers, marks Fey’s first star turn in a project which she did not originate or write. Still, it certainly feels a lot like a Tiny Fey joint. Judging by the general tone and the chaotic improv of Fey’s partner-in-crime Amy Poehler, I suspect the two enhanced the production with a fair amount of script-doctoring. Indeed, Fey’s character fits firmly in the public persona of Endearingly Neurotic Thirtysomething Single Girl established on SNL’s Weekend Update, as Ms. Norbury in Mean Girls, and as Liz Lemon in 30 Rock. The Tina Fey Notlash notwithstanding, she is evidently more grounded in real life, and married with a child. Meanwhile, the fictionalized “Tina Fey” is the idol of every girl with glasses and crush of every boy with… uh, glasses.
Fey must have an impressive rolodex, for like her flagship TV show 30 Rock, nearly every little role is Baby Mama is filled by a familiar face. When not being amused by alumni from The Daily Show and SNL, we’re treated to Steve Martin as a wild and crazy organic food magnate and Sigourney Weaver as an initially creepy but ultimately sympathetic fertility doctor. But personally, I wouldn’t dare make fun of Sigourney Weaver’s age, lest she come after me with a flamethrower or a space forklift.