If you’re looking for some levity this weekend, the delightful New Zealand comedy Baby Done opens this Friday, Jan. 22, in select theaters and on VOD. The film is directed by Curtis Vowell, written by Sophie Henderson and executive produced by Taika Waititi and Carthew Neal.
When Zoe (Rose Matafeo, Horn Dog), an avid tree climber who works as an arborist with her longtime boyfriend Tim (Matthew Lewis, Harry Potter film franchise, Me Before You), learns she is pregnant, she’s immediately in disbelief. Opting to keep the news to herself, she bemoans the loss of her friends who are expecting a baby with her child-free pal Molly (Emily Barclay, Suburban Mayhem) while in attendance of said friends’ gender reveal party—boiling life events down to: “married, house, baby, done.”
Once Tim finds out Zoe herself is pregnant, he’s ready to start preparing for their impending arrival, and Zoe is too–in her own way. She creates a list for each of them containing items they are to complete before their little “Speck” arrives. The varied list, including winning the tree climbing championship to trying drugs in a controlled environment and having a threesome, presents a challenge when the couple is informed by their doctor that Zoe is further along in her pregnancy than they originally assumed. Baby Done is a humorous and all-too-relatable look at a young woman who is fiercely determined to hold onto her sense of self and adventure in the face of bringing a new life into the world.
After confirming together in a cramped bathroom stall that a baby is in their future early on in the film, Zoe is upfront about how she’s feeling, telling Tim, “I want to have a baby, I just don’t want to turn into a mum.” This particular sentiment, I imagine, is one that’s not solely unique to this character and will speak to those who may have felt similarly. Baby Done is able to strike this relatable chord as it embraces the importance of one’s identity in the midst of forthcoming change and the desire to not be defined as one singular thing.
Even as Zoe resists departure from her regular day-to-day life to something more socially becoming of an expectant mother, you get the sense that she’s beginning to realize that some things—like being able to make an emergency escape when needed—are no longer in her control. Caught under a locked stall door on the floor of bar bathroom, the pained look of defeat that Zoe gives a stranger while unable to move says so much. It’s no wonder she remains headstrong and pushes to complete the couple’s list, even though Tim is leaning heavily into his new parental responsibilities—”Speck’s” arrival is imminent.
Performance-wise, Matafeo and Lewis make for quite the onscreen pair as new parents-to-be. Baby Done was my first experience seeing Matafeo onscreen, and she’s truly a joy to watch. She conveys so much with a single look or expression, enhancing her overall performance. Plus, with her background in comedy, Matafeo effortlessly injects a natural humor into Zoe. A highlight was her character’s inquiry of Tim after returning home from an evening out: “Are you nesting?” She nails the tone just right, capturing her confusion and bit of absurdity in the moment.
Lewis really goes for it as Tim, shifting between the different emotional facets of his character—going from the playful, comedic banter shared between Zoe and Tim and launching into full-on panic upon realizing how soon their baby is arriving, to flipping the switch into the sensible, we-need-to-prepare-for-baby dad mode. Collectively, the actors’ performances complement one another rather well—especially during an amusing running bit that’s sure to solicit a good deal of laughter.
A refreshing take on impending motherhood, Baby Done serves as an entertaining reminder that a one-size-fits-all kind of approach to life isn’t for everyone—even if it means getting stuck along the way.