Film Review: BABES (2024): Pamela Adlon Directs Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau with Wildly Funny Results All Around SuperNayr

Michelle Buteau Ilana Glazer Babes

Babes Review

Babes (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Pamela Adlon, written by Ilana Glazer and Josh Rabinowitz and starring Ilana Glazer, Michelle Buteau, Hasan Minhaj, John Carroll Lynch, Stephan James, Oliver Platt, Elena Ouspenskaia, Keith Lucas, Kenneth Lucas, Mario Polit, Julia Scotti, Crystal Finn, Donna Glaesener, Katy Grenfell, Whoopi Goldberg and Rosa Gilmore.

Director Pamela Adlon’s hysterical and heartwarming new comedy, Babes, has a lot of scenes which feel like they’re being made up on the spur of the moment. I don’t know if all these sequences were or were not scripted but one thing’s for certain: The actors and filmmakers have put together a good show, regardless. I’ve seen films like Babes before but because of co-writer/star, Ilana Glazer’s witty one-liners and pleasant demeanor, Glazer almost single-handedly helped make the film a true success. Co-star, Michelle Buteau, is well-matched with Glazer, for sure, and the pair of actresses play off each other with effective comic timing. Glazer’s character was more relatable to me than Buteau’s but whichever character in the film one relates to, one will certainly sympathize with these characters in some way, shape or form and the audience will enjoy watching these two women go through their comic paces.

As Adlon’s movie starts, the friendship between a yoga teacher named Eden (Glazer) and a dentist, Dawn (Buteau), is established. This film is set in Queens, NY for a large portion of it and the movie employs locations that will ring a bell if you’ve ever been on Queens Blvd. by Astoria in the borough. There’s plenty of dirty talk and casual conversation thrown in right at the start which sets the tone for the scenes to follow. As a pregnant Dawn finds herself going into labor in a fancy restaurant, she tries to grab one last bite to eat before heading off to deliver her child. Since Dawn has ended up living in the city with her husband, Marty (Hasan Minhaj), it takes a bit of travel time for the two ladies to see one another. Right at the beginning, they meet up to see a movie at the Cinema Village in the City which is a Thanksgiving Day tradition for them.

As the plot continues, Eden meets a charming performer named Claude (Stephan James) on the train. Claude is coming home from working on a small role in a Martin Scorsese film. Eden and Claude hit it off immediately and Eden shares that she’s never had a man finish inside her without protection. That’s not the kind of information that is typically divulged when meeting someone for the first time but Glazer’s line delivery almost makes it feel credible. They end up getting together romantically and have sex even though Eden’s on her period. Before you can predict a Knocked Up-type scenario, Claude is taken out of the picture completely. Without giving everything away, he’s not going to be able to come back into Eden’s life for a very precise reason.

Babes works for the comedy more than for the pretty much standard story it tells. The movie, as a whole, is not your standard fare, though, because Glazer is a unique talent full of passionate energy and even when what she’s saying sounds a bit out there, it’s believable because we come to care for Eden as a character. Dawn is well-developed too. When Eden babysits for Dawn, all hell ends up breaking loose after Eden shows Dawn’s young son an old “R-rated” horror film. Eden and Dawn will drift apart a bit as Eden starts learning what it means to be independent as she makes a choice to keep the baby she’s pregnant with even though the dad won’t be in the picture.

While Babes has ridiculously silly scenes such as the leading pair taking shrooms together, at its center is a perfectly sweet movie about Eden and the friendship she has formed with Dawn throughout the years. The two actresses, Glazer and Buteau, work magic together and it’s painful to see their characters fight sometimes. However, the arguments the characters take part in feel authentic and relatable which makes the movie have substance underneath all its scenes of wickedly funny (and sometimes borderline offensive) quips.

The supporting cast is really good. John Carroll Lynch as the balding Dr. Morris is enjoyable to watch as he helps Eden cope with some pretty big decisions regarding her pregnancy. Oliver Platt, as Bernie, Eden’s dad, doesn’t get a lot of screen time but it’s great to see Platt working again. Stephan James disappears from the movie but creates a memorable character in the film’s initial stages. Hasan Minhaj as Dawn’s husband has a lot of passion in his performance as well.

Although Babes isn’t reinventing the coming-into-motherhood comedy, it’s a great way to show off the lives of its characters and the challenges they face while residing in New York City. Let’s face it–living in the Big Apple is always challenging and the movie shows audiences the personal situations that shape Eden’s dilemmas and the professional and personal ones that eat up Dawn’s free time outside work. Babes almost feels like it caters some of its humor to New Yorkers more than any other demographic, even though people from anywhere could probably enjoy the film’s jokes just as much.

Babes is a delightfully good time to be had at the movies. Ilana Glazer is a natural born comic actress and this film makes her a true movie star. Michelle Buteau’s work is heartfelt and she’s a joy to watch as well. Babes has a “best friends” formula at its center but ultimately breaks outside the box to create one of the most interesting and entertaining movies that have come out so far this year.

Rating: 8/10

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