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Admission: Up for an Amoral Comedy Set in a World without Abortion?

What a shame that the appealing, talented Tina Fey missed the mark with this ugly film.

by
John Boot

Bio

March 22, 2013 - 1:28 pm

Not only is the setup a groaner (as are the tepid romance scenes between Rudd and Fey), but the movie is blithely oblivious of reality: the reason there are hardly any Jeremiahs is because smug upper-middle class women like Portia have, going back two generations, been treating unwanted fetuses as mere inconveniences to be excised and thrown away with the rest of the medical waste. For someone like Portia (or Tina Fey) to actually choose to go into hiding for several months, then undergo birth and give the child up for adoption, rather than taking the easy way out with an abortion, would be such a surprising (and brave, and honorable) choice that it seems almost beyond the ability of anyone in Hollywood to imagine such a character.

But here’s the thing: The movie doesn’t even deal with these issues. It pretends to be unaware that abortion has become simply a casual lifestyle choice. Where’s the scene where Portia says she finds all human life to be precious and that she couldn’t bear to make an innocent fetus pay for her poor judgment? There isn’t one. We receive no explanation of why Portia made the choice.

True, Portia has a shrewish mother (Lily Tomlin) who is a parody of a 1970s feminist harpy (she has a Bella Abzug tattoo on one arm, subscribes to the absurd catchphrase that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, and intentionally raised her daughter by herself after conceiving Portia by jumping a guy she barely knew on a train). The mom character (a useful reminder that Lily Tomlin is not, and never was, funny) presents an opportunity for some Family Ties style generation gap comedy between hippies and yuppies, but Portia isn’t presented as a conservative. (A right-winger on an Ivy League campus: There’s a comedy for you.) She simply comes across as a typical northeastern liberal.

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Top Rated Comments   
Lily Tomlin actually was funny before she thought that meant she was like Gandhi or something and thought any expression of her beyond scrunching up her face was important.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow. Call me crazy, but I don't find that unbearably smug witch to be at all humorous.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tina Fey is of no interest to me because of her derision of Sarah Palin. If she's on TV, I change the channel. She lost me as an audience member, and I'm sure she's lost many others. Has anyone seen Jack Black lately? Since he dressed up as Jesus and did a propaganda piece for same-sex marriage? He became a nobody fast, and Tina Fey will go that way too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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Oh, c'mon, I liked, "one-ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingy". At least in retrospect.

Is this the party to whom I am Shpeaking?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Boot, you miss the fact that Tina Fey chose to do this movie. Career-wise, she did not need it. She makes a ton of money and she is well-known. Musta been something in it she really liked. Leftwing nutjob.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The admissions policies have been messed up for a while. In 1991 when we were waiting for college acceptance letters, a friend of mine was really upset. He'd been rejected by his first choice college, not Ivy League but one of the best in the country. This was a guy a 4.1 GPA, extracurricular activities, no disciplinary problems, etc. However, at least one football player was accepted, someone with a C average at best, did nothing but play football and cause trouble. It was surprising really how many of the top students lost out at the big colleges but lesser students got it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've not seen the film ( and probably won't ) as I am not a Tina Fey fan. But why not produce movies that celebrate the benefits of a traditional life instead of attacking the other side's positions? Just a thought.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tina Fey = not funny.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lily Tomlin actually was funny before she thought that meant she was like Gandhi or something and thought any expression of her beyond scrunching up her face was important.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow. Call me crazy, but I don't find that unbearably smug witch to be at all humorous.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tina Fey is of no interest to me because of her derision of Sarah Palin. If she's on TV, I change the channel. She lost me as an audience member, and I'm sure she's lost many others. Has anyone seen Jack Black lately? Since he dressed up as Jesus and did a propaganda piece for same-sex marriage? He became a nobody fast, and Tina Fey will go that way too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"He became a nobody fast, and Tina Fey will go that way too". the sooner the better.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The "they're better off dead" crowd speaks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Better Off Dead" was a hilarious movie!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is this like the Handmaid's Tale redux?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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