INFINITY BABY (USA 2017)

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Infinity Baby Poster
A comedy about babies that don’t age.

Director:

Bob Byington

Writer:

Onur Tukel

 

The execution of the movie is as queer as its conception of the infinity baby.  INFINITY BABY, shot in black and white is a absurdist social comedy that almost becomes a viable satire.

THE INFINITY BABY is so called because this baby does not age (hence being a baby forever).  By giving the baby a fixed medication, the baby only needs to eat once a week and have its diaper changed once a week.  The baby never cries but coos as cute as any cooing baby can be.  The whole package comes at a cost of $20,000.  The film follows one such baby that had her medication changed, died and ended growing up.  How all this happens with all its absurdist hilarity makes up Byington’s occasionally very funny movie.

It is not this baby person that is the subject of the movie.  The subjects are the employees involved with the infinity baby enterprise.  These are imperfect people with imperfect lives which the film milks for all its hilarity.  The inventor of the infinity baby is Neo (Nick Offerman) rich and powerful, and in his own works gives advice that people actually listen to. In his employ is Ben (Kieran Culkin, brother of the HOME ALONE Culkin) who wants a woman but is afraid to commit to a relationship.  When things get too sticky, he brings the girlfriend to her mother who will ream her out and therefore break up the relationship with no guilt accosted to Ben.  It is later learned that this woman is not really his mother, but a woman he pays to impersonate his mother to break up his various relationships.  These scenes have to be seen to be believed.  Ben is nothing more than an overgrown child, wonderfully portrayed by Culkin.

More outrageous are the two baby delivery guys, Larry (Steve Corrigan) and Malcolm (Starr).  They are a gay couple who end up stealing a baby and keeping the $20,000 in order to boost their relationship.  But they are lazy and increase the medication doses of the baby so that they do not have to clean and feed the infant so often.  The bay dies. All hell breaks loose.

Director Byington claims that the film is inspired by Woody Allen’s BANANAS.  The relationship part of the Wood Allen film is similar – the one where the character played by Allen’s then wife, breaks up with him.  Byington’s film, based on the script by Onur Tukel (CATFIGHT) is made up of a series of comedic set-ups that are related by the theme of the infinity baby but mostly unconnected in flow.  The film feels disjointed not aided by a non conclusive ending. 

One would hardly expect a proper closed ending from a film with an absurdist plot.  Still INFINITY BABY is highly amusing for its inventiveness, weirdness and very funny humour.   The film was selected for the SXSW Film Festival and also won the CENTER Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1h5QtQ-_ZI

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Film Review: WHY HIM? (USA 2016). James Franco. Bryan Cranston.

why_him_movie_poster.jpgDirector: John Hamburg
Writers: Jonah Hill (story), John Hamburg (story/screenplay), Ian Helfer (screenplay)
Stars: Zoey Deutch, James Franco, Tangie Ambrose, Bryan Cranston, Cedric the Entertainer, Megan Mullally

Review by Gilbert Seah

There are smart dumb comedies and there are dumb, dumb comedies. WHY HIM? directed and co-written by John Hamburg (who wrote MEET THE PARENTS, MEET THE FOCKERS and the ZOOLANDER movies) falls into the latter category. But all is forgiven for like the hit comedy DUMB AND DUMBER, WHY HIM? is quite funny.

As in MEET THE PARENTS and MEET THE FOCKERS, it is the story of the guy trying to impress his future in-laws. The hitch in WHY HIM? is that the guy is a weird monstrous hip games designer millionaire who swears in every sentence he utters. So will Laird (James Franco) be able to charm his future father-in-law Ned (Brian Cranston) so that he can give him permission to wed Stephanie (Zoey Deutch).

The audience is set up for an all-out gross film with the beginning scene where Laird is close to show Stephanie his almost black blue balls in a video chat. The scene shifts to Stephanie’s dad’s birthday celebration where she is video chatting him when Laird suddenly appears in the background and takes off his pants. There is nothing highly original about this comedic set-up but it still brings on the laughs.

Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) invites her father Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston) and mother Barb (Megan Mullally), along with their 15-year old brother Scott (Griffin Gluck), to stay with her wealthy and famous boyfriend, Laird Mayhew while visiting her at Christmas. Laird’s vulgar, gregarious, and blunt personality is slightly overwhelming for Barb and Scott, but causes Ned to downright despise him. However, Stephanie insists that Laird is a nice person, and that he makes her happy. But when Laird reveals he plans to propose to Stephanie in only five days, the race to prove himself worthy of her love so Ned can give them his blessing begins. Laird goes out of his way to win over Barb and Scott, while Ned schemes to make sure Laird goes down in flames.

Laird throws a Christmas party for the Flemings that goes out of control. But the three minute Christmas party segment puts OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY to shame. The segment moves on fast, furious and funny and generates more laughs in the three minutes that the entire party section in OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY.

For a film about a wild person, the film stays away from lewd scenes. There are no hard core drugs only marijuana and no smoking is shown – only the after effects (the horny mother inching her husband for sex in the bedroom). Swearing, however is plentiful but done in a humorous manner. There are also bukkake and double dicking jokes (but nothing seen) – which the gays in the audience should be familiar with. The film also steals from the Kato and Inspector Clouseau fights in the PINK PANTHER films with Laird’s man-servant, Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key) always laying in wait to fight him. But these scenes are still funny.

Where the film starts to slack is when it gets emotional with the different relationships (father/boyfriend; father/daughter and boyfriend/girlfriend). The ending 20 minutes drags too long and is a bit of a let down considering the fast pace of the rest of the film. There is a surprise appearance of a famous band at the end of the film. Still WHY HIM? succeeds as quite a hilarious though quite a dumb comedy.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO6qLC4cL8E
 

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