'Babes' review: Pamela Adlon directs Ilana Glazer, Michelle Buteau in fresh comedy on friendship and pregnancy

The movie doesn't shy away from showing how bizarre pregnancy can be

Put Ilana Glazer, Michelle Buteau and Pamela Adlon together in a movie, with Whoopi Goldberg voicing Buteau's breasts in a scene, and we'll be rushing to the theatre. If you need more reasons to see Babes, it's a radiant comedy that leans into the reality of pregnancy.

While it shouldn't necessarily be revolutionary to watch a film that authentically represents pregnancy, Babes, written by Glazer and Josh Rabinowitz, lets us laugh at the things that are actually bizarre about the experience. That's where Babes shines.

Babes release date: May 24
Cast: Ilana Glazer, Michelle Buteau, Hasan Minhaj, Stephan James
Director: Pamela Adlon
Runtime: 104 minutes

Michelle Buteau and Ilana Glazer in Babes (Elevation Pictures)
Michelle Buteau and Ilana Glazer in Babes (Elevation Pictures)

Eden (Glazer) and Dawn (Buteau) have been best friends since childhood, both living in New York City. While Dawn has started a family with her husband Marty (Minhaj), giving birth to her second child at the beginning of the film, Eden is a single, oftentimes chaotic, yoga instructor.

While eating sushi on the subway Eden meets Claude (James) and after talking for several stops they ultimately end up hooking up that night.

Ilana Glazer and Stephan James in Babes (Elevation Pictures)
Ilana Glazer and Stephan James in Babes (Elevation Pictures)

Anchored by the oddly commonly believed myth that women can't get pregnant when they have sex on their period, Eden finds out she's pregnant shortly after her hookup with Claude.

Eden decides to move forward with the pregnancy, initially thinking that Dawn will be there for her every step of the way, but it's not really what Eden was expecting.

Babes tracks Eden's pregnancy and the impact that it has on her friendship with Dawn, and Dawn's family.

John Carroll Lynch and Ilana Glazer in Babes (Elevation Pictures)
John Carroll Lynch and Ilana Glazer in Babes (Elevation Pictures)

We're very supportive of moving the dial in comedy to a point where women can make R-rated jokes to the level of many male comedians. Somehow people think it's particularly raunchy when the jokes come from a woman's perspective.

That's the part we love about Babes, a film that leans into comedy around experiences like sex, drug use, lactation, vaginal discharge, being horny while pregnant and child birth.

But there are highs and lows in the comedy in Babes. Some jokes land brilliantly, while others start to feel particularly forced, and sometimes are included at the expense of better character development.

It's particularly true when it comes to Eden. We're teased with a few different aspects of her life that led to her chaotic, independent, but also very dependant, place in adulthood, but it feels like the puzzle pieces are never really coming together to get the best possible grasp on that character.

What's undeniable is that Glazer and Buteau have infectious chemistry on screen. It feels like we're getting a sneak peak inside this particularly special friendship. It's a great lead up to the final moments of the movie that will likely make many people in the audience get emotional and shed a tear, or two.

Overall, Babes is still an incredibly fun ride. It really puts the ups and downs of female friendship front and centre in the story, and in 2024, we're very over the more sanitized depictions of pregnancy. We need honest comedies about moms and childbirth.

Babes is in Canadian theatres May 24