Hugh Grant gets ready for Fatherhood
The subject of unlikely parenthood isn't a new idea; I've watched countless movies which explore the situation of a man finding himself looking after a young child whilst not in the least bit ready to do so. But then "Nine Months" is a little different, adapted from the screenplay "Neuf Mois" it tells the tale of a man who's life gets turned upside down when he discovers his partner is pregnant and the fear of becoming a dad cripples him as it is not only something he didn't plan for but also something he's not ready to become. It's a good idea, not exactly clever, but good except for the fact that what we get in "Nine Months" fluctuates between being amusing and being outright daft. What I mean is there are some very clever and occasionally touching scenes as Hugh Grant playing the father to be basically realises it's time to grow up, then yet there are scenes of outright stupidity which are nothing but dumb. It means that whilst "Nine Months" is enjoyable it's no where near as good as it could have been.
Samuel Faulkner's (Hugh Grant - Four Weddings and a Funeral) life is pretty perfect, he may dislike children but he ironically makes a good living as a child therapist and he has a wonderful girlfriend in Rebecca (Julianne Moore - Body of Evidence). But when she suddenly announces she is pregnant it throws Samuel's life into turmoil as he had never planned on having children and the thought of having a child cripples him with fear. Despite not wanting a child Samuel hasn't got the courage to tell Rebecca the truth but it is very obvious to her that his heart isn't in it and leaves him.
So the storyline basically revolves around child psychologist Samuel Faulkner learning that his partner is unexpectedly expecting and what follows is basically a series of scenes and set ups as he deals with his emotions. Along the way he goes from thinking he has been tricked, not wanting the child, going along with it because he is too much of a wimp to say otherwise and in the process losing his partner who grows tired off his obvious problems with fatherhood. It's not the most clever of storylines but there is enough material from these 9 months of emotional turmoil to make it work. It may be obvious that along the way Faulkner basically grows up, embraces the thought of fatherhood and does his best too woo his partner back but it works to make an amusing yet predictable tale.
But the trouble is that whilst there are some really nice scenes in "Nine Months" such as Faulkner's epiphical moment as he watches the video of the baby scan there is also a lot of stupidity and I do mean stupidity. The stupidity is there to be supposedly funny such as when Faulkner gets nightmares that Rebecca is a Praying Mantis and will devour him after they have sex, but it is so cheesy it ends up stupid. The same can be said of the awkward friendship which grows between Faulkner and father of three Marty Dwyer especially when it descends into a fight in the delivery room. And that is the thing as whilst there are some really nice, emotional and touching scenes in "Nine Months" director Chris Columbus too often resorts to over the top and out of place comedy to try and make it funny. May be the slapstick comedy would be funny for young children but "Nine Months" feels more like it is a romantic comedy for the twenty something crowd.
Coming a year after he gave us "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Nine Months" sees Hugh Grant delivering that stereotypical, mumbling, bumbling, floppy haired English guy thing which he seemed to trade on during the early 90s. Personally it doesn't work for me, in fact I pretty much dislike it when ever Grant played this sort of character, but he does have his moments especially in that epiphical moment where it's quite touching as the realisation of fatherhood radiates from his face.
But in many ways whilst "Nine Months" seems to focus on Grant's character the best performance for me comes from the loveliness which is Julianne Moore. For what appears to be a rather ordinary comedy Moore manages not only to deliver passion but also emotion in almost every single scene and so when she realises that Faulkner is not really ready you do feel for her as she leaves him. And whilst they seemed to be included to make the over the top comedy work Tom Arnold and Joan Cusack are great fun as the Dwyer's as is Robin Williams as a Russian Doctor who gets his words mixed up.
What this all boils down to is that "Nine Months" ends up being a rather ordinary comedy despite having quite an amusing set up. It almost feels like it's unsure who it is for as whilst it has some wonderful tender moments the comedy ends up being quite obvious and stupid. As such it is fun to watch and Julianne Moore is absolutely lovely through out but it won't leave any lasting impression.