The Babymoon is still admirable for its efforts despite its imperfections. The premise is also surprisingly layered – another element that earns our respect. When the movie slacks on convincing dialogue or it loses subtlety in the performances, writer/director Bailey Kobe isn’t afraid to send his audience into a feverous tailspin, making us wonder in amusement how our jilted characters wound up on this crazy adventure in the first place.
The story starts innocently enough. Well, as innocently as a cursed vacation can be with a selfish reality TV star and the paranoid future-mother-to-his-child. Trace (Shaun Sipos of TV’s The Vampire Diaries) is known as a ladies man, but he desperately wants a breakout role. Hanna (Julie McNiven of TV’s Mad Men) is aware of Trace’s scandalous schmoozing, and always feels like she has to keep an eye on him.
Their vacation erupts after a misunderstanding, an argument, and a walk-out, which leads to Trace’s kidnapping and Hanna’s mission to find him. It’s as convoluted as it sounds, but The Babymoon keeps us hooked. It’s basically the same fish-out-of-water dynamic that 2010’s Date Night worked to some avail, only this time Kobe splits up the narrative into two wobbly arcs.
The Babymoon may miss more than it hits (mostly because of stereotypical Ugly American/Wicked Foreigner labels, and flatlining cartoony digs at Greenpeace), but the audience is consistently invested in Hanna and Trace’s struggle – a major accomplishment considering how unlikable they are. If this film highlights any strengths of Kobe’s storytelling, it’s that he knows how to expand on hints in his screenwriting, and he knows how to milk intrigue. His homework is learning how to integrate other genres – like variations of comedy, for instance.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie