Standup hero Rose Matafeo sparkles in her first big-screen starring role as a reluctant soon-to-be mother, with her chaotic energy chiming well with the vulnerable tenderness of co-star Matthew Lewis
“I want to have a baby. I just don’t want to turn into a mum,” Rose Matafeo’s Zoe says to her partner Tim (Lewis) as they peer at a urine-soaked pregnancy stick. If there were any doubt as to what she means, she clears it up almost immediately. “I don’t want us to become dicks”.
A welcome addition to the pregnancy film genre, Baby Done is a sweet yet cynical take on the miracle of life in all its annoying, administrative glory. Determined to prove that she is still her own person, baby or not, Zoe swaps antenatal classes for tree climbing, cutesy baby showers for international travel, pulling the bemused Tim – trailing parenting books and baby toys – in her wake.
It’s a classic fish-out-of-water scenario that perfectly suits the film’s deadpan tone, although more could be made of the concept, both satirically and emotionally. Yet while the script says nothing new, there is real charm and incisive humour found both in the details (the gender-reveal Gothic of tiny baby figurines frozen in ice cubes, hideous cradles fashioned out of fruit salad) and in Matafeo and Lewis’s performances, which are delightful at every turn.
Both are comedically pitch-perfect, Lewis’s vulnerable tenderness grounding Matefeo’s chaotic energy, their chemistry skimming over the script’s occasionally manufactured tension. If nothing else – and there is much else – Baby Done offers a vehicle for the sparkling Matafeo and severely underrated Lewis to shine, and they don’t hesitate to deliver.
Released 22 Jan by Vertigo; certificate 15