“Babes,” starring Ilana Glazer of “Broad City” and “Survival of the Thickest” star Michelle Buteau, lead Pamela Adlon’s movie depicting the changes a person goes through once they have kids, from their romantic to platonic relationships.


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Plot Summary

Eden and Dawn have been best friends since they were at least 11. They grew up in or around Astoria, Queens, New York, until Dawn married Marty and moved to Manhattan. But, because Eden loves her friend so much, she will take multiple trains and spend nearly two hours for just 45 minutes. Which Dawn appreciates, for with having a growing family, her going to Astoria would be far harder.

However, the dynamics get complicated when Eden, after a one-night stand with a man named Claude, needs Dawn to make time for her while she goes on her own pregnancy journey. Dawn, who has two kids, Marty, a dental practice which could use an influx of cash, and is having trouble holding down a nanny, doesn’t know if she has anything left to give.

Which for Eden is frightening since her dad, Bernie, has agoraphobia, her mom is dead, and she has put all her time and effort into her relationship with Dawn. This level of dependency tests their relationship and leaves you to wonder if, when Eden needs her most, will Dawn decide, despite knowing Eden twice as long as Marty, to drop Eden to focus on the people who live in her household and forsake decades of friendship?

Who Plays Who?

Character’s Name Actor’s Name
Eden Ilana Glazer
Dawn Michelle Buteau
Marty Hasan Minhaj
Bernie Oliver Platt
Claude Stephan James
Dr. Morris John Carroll Lynch

Character Description(s)

Eden

Eden is Dawn’s best friend, a yoga instructor who is happily single but enjoys a hook-up now and again. She is also the person who usually supplies her with the drugs she takes, and with having no one else consistent in her life, she usually takes the initiative to make sure they stay in touch.

Dawn

Dawn is a dentist and a mother of two, married and overwhelmed.

Marty

Marty is Dawn’s husband, a top-tier father, a supportive husband, and, overall, a good guy. Slightly jealous of Dawn and Eden’s relationship, but those two are notably close.

Bernie

Bernie is Eden’s father, who is agoraphobic.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Lucky Them.”
Claude

Claude is the father of Eden’s baby, who she hit it off with on a rather fantastic evening.

Dr. Morris

Dr. Morris is the OGBYN for Eden and Dawn.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Date Released (In Theaters): 5/17/2024
  2. Film Length: 1 Hour 49 Minutes
  3. Source Material: N/A

Background Information

Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Ilana Glazer, Josh Rabinowitz
Based On Work By N/A
Distributor NEON
Genre(s) Comedy

Drama

Content Rating Rated R

Content Information

  • Dialog: Cursing
  • Violence: Blood
  • Sexual Content: Nudity, Sexual Situations (Implied)
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking, Drug Use, Vomiting

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Good If You Like

  • Comedies about best friends past their early to mid-twenties, going through life together

Similar To This

  1. Better Things: Pamela Adlon’s multi-season show covering single motherhood and balancing your personal life with your career.

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

Highlights

Eden’s Attachment And Actions Make Sense

Like we’ve seen in many of Glazer’s past roles, she plays characters who can be a lot. But, when it comes to “Babes,” you get it. She is an only child, her mother is dead, her father is mostly absent, and as Dawn notes, she has enabled and become Eden’s everything. She is her best friend, a maternal figure, and her rock. So, with that in mind, Eden can be uninhibited for after decades of Dawn keeping this up, she knows she accepts and loves her.

Which, with having that kind of precedent in your life, you can see why Eden’s life outside of Dawn is so limited and why she has trouble forming romantic relationships and maybe other friendships. For who can really compare to all that Dawn offers? Claude did, but you’ll find out why in the movie what happened with that.

Men Don’t Play The Punching Bag Or Bad Guys

It’s easy to imagine that the men of the film, whether it is Eden’s dad Bernie, Dawn’s husband Marty, the father of Eden’s child Claude, or even Dr. Morris, the OBGYN for Eden and likely Dawn’s past pregnancies, could be punching bags. Yet, they aren’t.

While it is acknowledged that Bernie isn’t there as Eden would like, he is given grace. He has a mental illness which makes it hard for him to leave the house, so even one attempt is saying a lot, and he knows he has to do better. Then, with Marty, while he may not be the perfect husband, Hasan Minhaj presents a realistic ideal. Does he argue and frustrate Dawn? Absolutely. However, he is also a good dad, a good man, and a good husband. He’s allowed to be human in ways, traditionally, men don’t get to be in films like this since they are pushed to be the outright problem or are playfully shown to be such.

I would even say that there are so many ways they could have made Claude a deadbeat, but they sidestepped that. Heck, even with Dr. Morris, there could have been a back and forth, jokes about him mansplaining women’s bodies, but the film doesn’t aim to be silly. Yes, Eden is a weirdo, and Dawn to a certain point as well, but there are both rooted in reality, and with that, everyone, men or women, are given the grace and respect to be flawed.

Dawn Is Not Your Magical Negro

It could be easy to assume, with the jovial nature that Michelle Buteau usually showcases and how Glazer’s character is written, this would mean Buteau plays a magical negro who is everything to Eden without a complaint or any desire to advocate for themselves. You’d be wrong. As said, everyone is given grace but also allowed to be flawed, including Dawn.

She is a mother of two, which at times pushes you to wonder if she has a post-partum disorder, and while she tries to be that ideal, happy, and friendly person, she isn’t perfect; she isn’t a saint. She loses her temper at Marty, gets annoyed at her eldest kid for regressing, and Eden? When she reaches her peak, she has no trouble addressing Eden expecting too much from her.

So if you were worried about Buteau playing second fiddle or that stereotypical Black best friend who lives to serve their friend, no need to worry here.

Illuminating What Happens During Pregnancy, Warts and All

Pregnancy is a prime topic to use, and the “Laugh to keep from crying” way of doing comedy is what “Babes” does. From conception to raising a kid, it shows the highs and lows, warts and all. Whether it is the birth, and not only potentially pooping while having your kid, but delivering the placenta. You also have the needles involved that will make you shriek, lactation issues, potential post-partum issues, how friendships change, how relationships change, all while recognizing, as daunting as the life shift can be, you can have fun with it.

We see that in Eden’s pregnancy shoot, her talking about a phase when she is horny, Dawn reacting to Eden’s lack of pregnancy knowledge, and so much more. “Babes” doesn’t want to frighten you or play down what it means to be pregnant, but it definitely makes a point it isn’t to be taken lightly and may not be for the meek.


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Babes (2024) Movie Review

Summary

When it comes to “Babes,” it may not be for everyone, but for those a fan of Ilana Glazer’s eccentric characters, Michelle Buteau’s positivity, paired with Pamela Adlon’s ability to find the funny in the otherwise mundane, this is one of the best depictions of what it means to become a mom, from the highs to the vomit-inducing lows.

Overall
84%
84%
  • Illuminating What Happens During Pregnancy, Warts and All - 83%
    83%
  • Dawn Is Not Your Magical Negro - 84%
    84%
  • Men Don’t Play The Punching Bag Or Bad Guys - 86%
    86%
  • Eden’s Attachment And Actions Make Sense - 82%
    82%
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Highlight(s)

  • Eden’s Attachment And Actions Make Sense
  • Men Don’t Play The Punching Bag Or Bad Guys
  • Dawn Is Not Your Magical Negro
  • Illuminating What Happens During Pregnancy, Warts and All

Disputable

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