NEW YORK — The adorable baby girl featured here starts off life with a quartet of acute handicaps — four dimwitted parents. This bizarre story won’t generate nominations for any “parents of the year” citations, but it does form the basis for a nifty little film in which Veronica Hamel becomes every mother’s most chilling nightmare.
Meet the moms and dads:
Karen (Nancy McKeon) is divorced, has two children and bears a third, Sophie, by her married boyfriend. Karen may live in a smart little bungalow and drive a late-model Volvo, but she is sinking financially and on the verge of losing her job at a pizza parlor.
David (David Duchovny) is a promising, self-absorbed young businessman who started an affair with Karen when she was the firm’s receptionist. David drops by at Christmas to trim the tree with Karen and her two kids, but he isn’t about to dump his wife.
Bianca (Veronica Hamel) is the high-strung wife of Cal (Michael Madsen), an Air Force captain who wants a divorce. The only way to keep him, she thinks, is to have his baby. But since he’s heading out the door, this pregnancy has to be backdated. And that’s just the first problem.
Cal, a simpleton, accepts Bianca’s “pregnancy” and finds it plausible that she goes off to work in the morning and returns at night with a baby (which doesn’t look like a newborn).
Of course, Bianca has stolen Karen’s baby. As played by Hamel, this Bianca is formidable. In one memorable scene, Bianca, the essence of malevolence, drops by the maternity ward of the local hospital to do some comparison shopping.
Karen, faced with loutish FBI agents and hectored by a ghoulish media, finds purpose and independence in the quest to recover her baby. McKeon plays her role effectively.
This is a finely structured, well-acted and deftly produced drama. There aren’t a lot of people to root for here, except the baby. But an imperiled baby can transcend any number of doltish parents, and this one does just that.