Half a Dozen Babies (1999) (aka: Life's Little Struggles) Movie Review

Half a Dozen Babies (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Scott Reeves and Melissa Reeves in Half a Dozen Babies (1999) (aka: Life's Little Struggles)

Becki's Baby Boom

Keith and Becki Dilley (Scott & Melissa Reeves) met whilst working at a diner and before long were not only married but thinking about having children, except they discover that they are unable to conceive naturally. Despite the financial struggles they start various fertility treatments and just as they are about to give up, as money becomes tight, they have success. In fact more than success as they discover that Becki is carrying quintuplets which leads to a tough and dangerous pregnancy plus a little surprise as when Becki goes in to have the babies a sixth baby is discovered. But their troubles don't end there as after the babies are born there are health issues, family issues and the intrusive press means that life is never simple.

The thought of dealing with one baby terrifies me let alone six but that is what Keith and Becki Dilley found themselves facing when fertility treatment gave them sextuplets although the sixth was a bonus surprise. Now I have never heard of the Dilley family, they weren't big news here in the UK but seemed to have been big news in the United States, but what seems to be the case here is that whilst "Half a Dozen Babies" was inspired by this true story it is not necessarily an accurate portrayal. In fact for the most "Half a Dozen Babies", which also goes by the name "Life's Little Struggles", plays out like a comedy drama taking us from Keith and Becki meeting, through attempts to have a baby, the pregnancy and then the trials and tribulations of having 6 babies as well as some other dramas. It works as a form of entertainment delivering drama, emotion and laughs whilst also throwing in some medical facts but not really feeling like a true representation of the people involved or their story.

Teri Garr in Half a Dozen Babies (1999) (aka: Life's Little Struggles)

So to me the best way to approach "Half a Dozen Babies" is to take it as a drama inspired by the true story of the Dilleys, taking certain parts of their story and then placing them in to an entertaining and uplifting framework. As such we have a lot of humour going on from seeing stacks of nappies wheeled in to their home to bottle after bottle of formula in the fridge as well dirty bottles piled up in the sink. All of which is fun as is Becki phoning home when she goes back to work as Keith becomes a stay at home dad.

There is also the drama side from health issues, learning about the difficulties which come from carrying so many babies as well as drama involving the grandparents. The drama is for the most lightweight, resisting going for hard hitting although "Half a Dozen Babies" has some emotional scenes as well as highlighting the difficulties of the intrusive and often insensitive press as they want their story. It is by trying to make the drama light and generically amusing that the portrayal of a pushy grandparent as an annoying interfering mother-in-law appears to distort the truth too far and from what I have read has upset some people, which is understandable.

But taken as a light hearted drama inspired by Keith and Becki Dilley's true story, "Half a Dozen Babies" is entertaining with husband and wife team Scott and Melissa Reeves doing a fantastic job of playing the Dilleys. It helps the movie so much that there is chemistry between the actors because some cheesy sounding dialogue doesn't sound so bad when you can see the spark between those delivering it. And whilst the characters may not be authentic Judith Ivey as Becki's mum Doris certainly comes across as bossy whilst Teri Garr shows her acting class as Keith's mum Lee to make her scenes very touching.

What this all boils down to is that "Half a Dozen Babies" is probably not a very good dramatization of a true story but taken as a movie inspired by Keith and Becki Dilley's story and made to entertain as well as uplift it succeeds in a light dramatic sort of way.