She’s Having A Baby

Kevin Bacon plays Jake Briggs, a young man terrified of marriage and even more frightened by the fact that his wife Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern) is pregnant. This John Hughes comedywritten, produced, and directed by the individual probably most responsible for bringing complacent sitcom sensibility to moviesbranches out from previous efforts by including a good many fantasy sequences and flashbacks. The problems faced involve career, meddling in-laws, keeping a house in the suburbs, and overextended credit. One could play a depressing little game matching this movie with Father of the Bride and Father’s Little Dividend as an indication of how low ordinary movies have sunk since the early 50s. The viewpoint of the older generation (Spencer Tracy in the earlier films) has been supplanted by that of the nerdy young husband (Bacon), but the conformist middle-class context and the undercurrents of castration anxiety (revealed in dream sequences) remain basically the same; the main difference is that the earlier model had some vestiges of soul and wit beneath its reactionary humor. Even though Kristy is seen mainly through the uncomprehending eyes of Jake, McGovern manages to fare better with the cliches thrown at her than Bacon does; but neither has a prayer of scoring at a game whose rules and players might have been dreamed up by a computer. Even the cutesy minor gag of putting the title’s initials on the hero’s license plate has something grimly nonhuman about it (1988, 106 min.). (JR)

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