Directed By Pamela Adlon

Starring – Llana Glazer, Michelle Buteau, Hasan Minhaj

The Plot – Follows inseparable childhood best friends Eden (Glazer) and Dawn (Buteau), having grown up together in NYC, now firmly in different phases of adulthood. When carefree and single Eden decides to have a baby on her own after a one-night stand, their friendship faces its greatest challenge. The film delves into the complexities of female friendship with a blend of laughter, tears, and labor pains.

Rated R for sexual material, adult language throughout, and some drug use.

BABES – Official Trailer – In Theaters May 17 (


Raunchy comedies have been making a comeback in recent years, but “Babes” feels like the culmination of those efforts, with an unabashedly honest and hilarious look at pregnancy through the eyes of two best friends who know a little too much about each other. The friendship is obviously the element that gives the script wings, with Glazer and Buteau effortlessly conjuring a richly lived-in brand of chemistry that extends and enhances the material towards reaching a mostly effective consistency. In the depths of the pregnancy, the film cuts out all of the charms and ambiance of what dozens of romantic comedies have falsely depicted for us for decades, but never in ways that are gross-out with the various gags, instead enacting through a caustic element of humor that Adlon herself has embraced in a career of being a comedian-turned-director, which transfers seamlessly to the integrity of the depiction. In such, the truthful method of insight will resonate spectacularly for women who have ever had to endure such painful and unflattering traumas, and the heavy-handed emphasis on the film’s raunchy R-rated material will offer something equally endearing for males in the audience, especially with how the film has no problem articulating how woman can be just as crude as their male counterparts. For Adlon, her directorial debut inside of a feature length presentation enriches the experience, with absorbing styles inside of various genres that at times makes much of “Babes” feel like a spoof of sorts while orchestrating its many framing devices. When the film begins, it feels like a Woody Allen romantic comedy of sorts, with lavish cinematography of New York scenery from Jeffrey Kim, piano driven scores, and meaningful framing between blossoming love interests that hits audiences right in the feels. As expected, these tender moments dissipate, and soon those gentle glowing tones are substituted for handheld photography and expressive edits that play all the more fluidly towards the film’s brand of adult humor, with many of the cuts emitting a forced silence between scenes that give audiences plenty of time to unload various fits of laughter. But raunch isn’t everything that this film is about, as the merit between two best friends with a lifetime of traditions inspires an underlining layer of heart that I truly wasn’t expecting, with tender moments of vulnerability between them that proves that this film has a lot more to say about the strength and versatility of motherhood than just being another bizarre buffet of awkwardly untimed situations. Particularly, the tone of the movie’s third act does evolve from seeds of discontent sewn from previous moments, and while this section of the movie is easily my least favorite for the way it predictably separates our dynamic duo unceremoniously, it’s also the section where the film becomes so much more than just another comedy, instead opting for a testament on the bonds of friendship and femininity, without it feeling preachy or sacrificial towards the other side of the audience, in turn crafting a feel-good sentiment that proved great depth for the talented ensemble. In that respect, combining as many comedians for Adlon’s cause does feel like an intentional move, where their charisma helps enable a likeable charm to their various personalities, but even beyond that it’s the way that each of them feel comfortable in orchestrating the material, especially the aforementioned Glazer and Buteau, who stop at nothing to humiliate themselves for the sake of the audience’s entertainment. For Glazer, she’s made a career out of the caustic wit that drives much of the film’s material, but Eden feels like the first time she’s legitimately acting on-screen, with moments of loneliness and fear that humble her otherwise free-spirited demeanor during key growing moments for the character. Likewise, Buteau is electricity in human form, with eccentric deliveries and bold facial registries that paint more about most jokes that a thousand words of dialogue ever could, all with Dawn feeling the weight of so many domestic issues within her household that feel like they could completely overwhelm her, at any given moment. Aside from our dazzling duo, some memorable supporting turns from Minhaj, Stephan James, and especially John Carroll Lynch help to take some of the burden of responsibility from the shoulders of our leading ladies, with Lynch emitting some of the biggest laughter I had in the entire film, as a result of an ongoing gag with his receding hairline that casually works its way into every frame without the dialogue drawing attention to it.


While on the path to “Bridesmaids” as my favorite female-driven comedy of all-time, “Babes” falls a little short in the extent of its execution, with inconsistencies in the rendering that took attention away from the focus of the unraveling narrative. With the comedy being so boldly apparent in its rendering, it sometimes makes the various scenes feel episodic as a series of skits, primarily during the opening act, where the first fifteen minutes is spent with a pregnant Dawn bouncing off of one various setting after the other. In fact, it doesn’t feel like the film settles into its own comfortable rhythm with the storytelling until the film’s halfway mark, and while the comedy is about 70% effective, sometimes the overindulgence and dependency upon it made it feel more important than the characters and their various conflicts. In addition to this, I did appreciate the shock factor of one big reveal during the opening act, but its framing leaves more to be desired with the absence of additional characters who could’ve said not only added insight into the complexity of shattered connective links, but also added more directions to the script to justify its 104 minute run time, which doesn’t always smoothly orchestrate. Without spoiling anything, I can say that the one night stand in question with the plot does end as abruptly as one could expect with the situation, but I wish the film explored more of this man’s family coming into frame, especially in that the emergence of Eden’s baby could offer closure and clarity to them in ways that never felt important towards exploring within the complexions of this movie. And finally, as previously mentioned, there is a third act distancing between Eden and Dawn that can be predicted as early as the film’s second act, but not necessarily one that I felt was justified in the extent of the conflicts between them that feel petty for friends of over thirty years. Not to say that best friends don’t fight, but in this instance the distancing feels present for the sake of conventional storytelling, and for my money the movie and the strength of their friendship would’ve been better without it, especially since it lasts about as long as you would expect in the consequences of the story.

“Babes” is a shamelessly outrageous raunchy comedy full of unflinching insight about the bonds of friendship and the pratfalls of motherhood that bind them. Between an endless registry of effective gags, a genre-absorbing presentation from Pamela Adlon, and a lived-in brand of believability in chemistry from the star-making turns of Glazer and Buteau, the movie delivers something endearing for audiences of all demographics, in turn surmising a labor of love for crude comedies that prove anything men can do, women can do bolder.

My Grade: 7/10 or B

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