Nowadays romance in comedy simply isn’t enough to satisfy the sentimental masses – we need babies too. This is presumably the rationale behind Hollywood’s recent fascination with ‘birth-coms’. Yes birth-coms, that is, comedies about child-birth. They come in all shapes and sizes and chances are you’ve seen at least one. First out the blocks was the admittedly quite funny Knocked Up, then came the offensively pretentious Juno, followed by the largely ignored Baby Mama starring Tina Fey and Labour Pains starring Lindsay Lohan. Barry Munday aligns itself with those last two titles, being neither particularly funny nor pretentious, but surely destined for obscurity.
Barry Munday tells the story of letch and prospective sex-offender Barry Munday (Patrick Wilson). Barry works a boring 9-5 insurance job an spends most of his day perving on his female colleagues. After work he hits the nacho bar to pick up some loose women for casual sex by pretending to be an architect. Barry is what might be termed in common parlance as a ‘bit of a lad’. However, his lechery eventually lands him in serious trouble when a young girl’s father takes exception to his perversion and strikes him square in the crotch with a trumpet. Barry wakes up hours later in a hospital bed minus two testicles. Things go from bad to worse when, shortly after leaving hospital, he receives a phone call from a girl named Ginger (Judy Greer) who claims to have slept with him several months ago and is now pregnant. Presumably seeking a new purpose in life, Barry jumps at the opportunity of parenthood and signs the paternity forms despite having no recollection of Ginger or the moment of conception.
This is Hollywood so despite the unlikely premise the film proceeds as you would expect, the only remarkable departure being one surreal moment where Barry’s boss, played by Billy Dee Williams (you know, the black guy from Star Wars), turns up in a Delorean.
Barry Munday while not being as funny as Knocked-Up, isn’t unfunny to a fault – it doesn’t have the tactless try-hard desperation that seems to characterise most mainstream US comedies, and there are some subtle glances and well-timed comic moments dotted amongst the usual cock gags. However all this light-hearted fun is somewhat darkened by the grim shadow of genital mutilation – is such a nightmarish scenario an appropriate premise for a romantic comedy? Who knows, but if you want to spend 90 minutes of your life not thinking about losing your testicles then you should probably watch something else.