Polly (Kristen Wiig) is desperate to have a child, but with no man on the horizon she turns to her friends Freddy (Sebastián Silva) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) to donate their sperm to her. As the three contemplate life, and Freddy’s obsession with becoming a father grows, an aggressive neighbour forces them to take another look at their choices.
The idea behind Nasty Baby is a strong one and could have played as a companion piece to Love is Strange had it been handled properly. Instead, this mumblecore film is populated with horrible people doing horrible things to cone another, and takes such a strange turn in the third act that it is hard to take the entire film seriously.
It is obvious that actress Krtisten Wiig saw something special in Nasty Baby and decided to throw her weight behind it in order to get it made. The same goes for producer and co-star Alia Shawkat, but it is hard to empathise with any of the people we are shown on screen here, when the characters are all either preparing for a gallery show or are doctors who rode a manual scooter to work. Even if there was anything endearing about the characters – which there doesn’t seem to be – they do not seem to live in a universe we can recognise.
Sebastián Silva’s screenplay is about a group of self obsessed people who are happy to spout their pseudo-intellectual opinions at any chance they are given, but when reality really hits them they fall to pieces. As director, Silva allows the film to drift through the first two acts, before the final half hour kicks into ridiculous but high paced gear.
There is very little to like in Nasty Baby and since this is a film that relies on the characters, it is clear that we should like them, even though we are given no chance to do so. Even the normally witty and charming Kristen Wiig cannot save this self absorbed and smug film.