If Nasty Baby were a biscuit it’d definitely be one of those healthy multigrain things or something similarly hipster. There’s absolutely no reason for me to compare this film to baked, flour-based foods, but for whatever reason its mise-en-scène reminds me of oaty snacks, possibly cereal bars. Maybe it’s because its main setting is a rustic apartment kitchen, overfilled with plants and beige utensils that would only adorn the home of an annoyingly alternative freak, who regularly posts baking pictures on Instagram. It’s even filmed quirkily – handheld, but with stunning clarity, like the iPhone adverts that constantly serve to remind us of the modern hell in which we live. Couple all that with the amount of masturbation that takes place in this film and I think I can be excused for interpreting this is an advert for a game of soggy biscuit.
Anyway (sorry about all that), Nasty Baby is actually a film about a woman asking her gay friends to donate their sperm so she can be a mother. Polly (Kristen Wiig) is supposedly incapable of finding a boyfriend, so she’s relying on Freddy (Sebastian Silver, who also directs) to wank into a cup and then shoot the contents up herself with a turkey baster. However, his swimmers aren’t up to speed, so they have to turn to his boyfriend, Mo (Tunde Adebimpe), who’s slightly more hesitant about the procedure.
Meanwhile, Freddy is filming a piece of performance art entitled ‘Nasty Baby’, in which grown adults cry and roll around like infants with crap-filled nappies. He thinks wanting your own baby is selfish when there’s so many out there that could be adopted, so this is his way of punishing himself. I told you it was annoying and hipster.
The notion of selfishness is ultimately what ties three tonally different parts of the film together. In the first act I thought I was watching a bizarre comedy, thanks to a loose sphincter joke, the second is more of a drama and the third is all out tragedy. Through each phase I found myself growing increasingly agitated with these supposedly innocent characters. They’re like the happy-go-lucky people you see in summer cider adverts, who are probably harbouring right-wing thoughts or dodging tax or something. They’re so fixated on their own happiness that they act inconsiderately, even cruelly to others, particularly their mentally ill neighbour, ‘The Bishop’ (Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards).
Nasty Baby does a relatively sound job at making the audience sympathise with the characters and their predicament, which makes it all the more potent when they’re exposed for the immoral bastard they are. As I was sitting there, eating my large combo meal and not thinking about those less fortunate in the world, I came to the conclusion that the protagonists are all pricks. I think that was more of less the point of this film, to question if they are in fact nasty and if you are, too, for relating to them. Anyway, I’m off to scoff an entire packet of biscotti.
Nasty Baby is in UK cinemas April 8.