After ruining a friend’s baby shower with her drunken, immature behavior, Ruth’s (Sonja Bennett) high school friends cut their ties with her. That changes at the snap of a finger, though, the day she is mistakenly thought to be with child while nursery shopping for an apology gift for her friend.
Not wanting this to get out of hand, Ruth plans on coming clean, but when her dad Walter (James Caan) has a heart attack and he tells her the thought of being a grandpa is the only thing keeping him alive, she decides to roll with the lie despite the major complications that will inevitably hit her.
The narrative device of the small lie that turns into a big that turns into something which spirals out of control has been done millions of times, but the premise behind Preggoland contains the potential for satirical gold to be mined from society’s views on pregnancy and motherhood.
And yet instead of hitting on those messages with any sort of punch, the film resorts to mostly cheap gags you’d expect to find on a sitcom.
Once in a while, writer/star Sonja Bennett lands some barbs that stick, particularly during the scenes she shares with her friends, all of whom have since experienced the joy of childbirth and motherhood, and moved on from the crazy partying days Ruth still seems to be stuck in. One claims her drug-free childbearing experience caused her to reach orgasm.
To which I profusely thank the good Lord above for having me brought into this world through C-section ’cause if I ever heard my mother say something even close to that I would jab my ears out with lead pencils.
Sorry, mom, it’s nothing to do with you, but would you seriously expect me to hive five the doctor and shout “SCORE!!!!” as I crawl my way out?
But despite those moments, and that most of the cast, particularly Sonja Bennett, try to make the material work, director Jacob Tierney seems to not know what kind of movie he wants to make. It lacks the bite of a dark comedy (nor the balls to pull out the miscarriage card which is the simplest way out for Ruth when she begins to feel conflicted about her deception), and has too many sitcom-y hijinks to be taken seriously as a drama.
Along with the aforementioned missed opportunities with its premise, Preggoland’s lead character is also sort of a missed opportunity as well. Like I just said, Bennett can’t be faulted for not trying with her performance, and there is a little bit of spark generated between her and her onscreen boss/love interest played by Paul Campbell. But as the writer, she doesn’t dig deep enough into why Ruth acts like such a woman-child (it’s a similar kind of role Charlize Theron played in Jason Reitman’s much superior Young Adult). So she still lives at home with her dad, works a cashier’s job at a supermarket and can barely afford bus fare? That doesn’t tell me she’s immature, it only tells me she’s broke – an aspect many mature, responsible people share as well.
Even the supporting cast, though a talented bunch, are stuck playing characters that come off as grounded, realistic people until the next “Will she or won’t she let her lie slip?” shenanigan pops up, and they all conveniently turn into dumb caricatures in order to keep the gag running (such as an ultrasound scene that is so implausible any idiot would be able to see right through the lie).
Although its narrative isn’t exactly fresh, Preggoland’s premise is promising enough to have had its satirical potential tapped into with better filmmaking hands. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t do as much as it could with the ideas it wants to touch on, and despite the efforts of Sonja Bennett – who makes this mediocre film somewhat watchable – it overall settles for a straight-to-DVD version of a Judd Apatow comedy that neatly wraps up all its complicated little problems by the end of the film.
I give Preggoland a C- (★★).
Review source: http://silverscreenfanatic.com/2015/05/09/preggoland/