Friendship, not romance, at the heart of comedy film ‘Babes’

By Thomson Reuters May 16, 2024 | 5:06 AM

By Danielle Broadway

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – For director Pamela Adlon, Hollywood’s overfocus on romance has faded, making room for more stories focused on friendships like her comedy film “Babes.”

“I mean, romance is over. Best friends, that’s where it’s at,” Adlon, the Emmy-winning star and co-creator of FX TV drama “Better Things,” told Reuters.

“I think that people will realize that. A lot of people think that somebody is incomplete if they don’t have a partner and a family is incomplete if there aren’t two parents, and it’s really not the case,” she added.

“Babes” follows the motherhood journeys of best friends Eden, played by “Broad City” star Ilana Glazer, and Dawn, played by Michelle Buteau, after Eden becomes pregnant following a one-night stand and turns to Dawn, already a mother of two, for support.

The film distributed by Neon arrives in theaters on Friday.

Adlon, Glazer and Buteau are all mothers who used their experiences to inform the story with a combination of comedy and heartfelt moments.

“Everybody has their own unique parenting story and between the three of us, we were able to draw from that and, like, pick off any memory or thing that happened from Michelle having twins, Ilana having her first daughter and me having three girls,” Adlon said.

Bearing that in mind, they highlighted the unique struggles the character Eden has, as she reflects the life of a single parent.

“It’s already scary trying to have a baby and having a baby with a partner, with backup, so to do it alone, I was like ‘Wow. She’s, like, so brave’,” Buteau said about Eden.

Buteau added that she wished her character Dawn was a little more supportive of Eden.

For Glazer, a stand-up comedian, “Babes” was an exciting opportunity to show audiences that not everyone has a conventional family.

“Your friends are kind of your life partners in a way. You have to talk out life decisions with your friends, that was kind of the sticking like point for us,” she said.

Similarly, Buteau, also a stand-up comedian, argues that family norms have changed over time and blood relatives aren’t the only ones considered kin anymore.

“I mean, I call my friends my chosen family because, many generations ago, you had a really big family and they all lived in a five-block radius and helped raise your kids. That’s not what it is anymore,” she said. “It’s your friends.”

(Reporting by Danielle Broadway and Rollo Ross; editing by Jonathan Oatis)