Everyone loves Tina Fey, and she hopes it stays that way. Her new film Baby Mama opens the Tribeca Film Festival tonight, and in an interview with Reuters today she admits, "You would be foolish to think, 'Oh everyone has really discovered that I am truly, truly wonderful.'" Her anticipation of her own backlash, aside, when a star argues that she is "not entirely selling out," you know the fear of the 'lash is in her heart. Baby Mama's opening weekend faces steep competition from stoner comedy Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, and with her NBC show 30 Rock moving into a new time slot, Fey's distinctive appeal needs to last a bit longer. Here are the troubling signals that Tina's edgy humor and general cuteness may be waning.
Tina has cannily avoided becoming too ubiquitous during her climb to the top, and though we'd be crazy if we didn't give her a fighting chance to stay in our good graces forever, she needs to make changes to ensure she isn't caught up in a wave of negative energy. Cue the chanting from the Britney episode of South Park:
Too busy to write her own material. When the guy who wrote the second two Austin Powers movies is writing and directing your latest vehicle, it's natural to get that lump in your throat. Breathe easy; those movies may have sucked, but they made $598 million in theaters worldwide. With that said, you can't offer monetary compensation to a backlash, it feeds purely on cynicism, jealousy and Twizzlers.
The amount of staged photos taken of her causes a temporal rift in Earth's atmosphere. She's on a fake city street in Entertainment Weekly. She's popping open a bottle of Grey Goose in Vanity Fair. She's sprawled across a couch for Reuters. Yes, she looks fabulous, but Tina, save your best for reputable publications like Marie Claire.
Even the good reviews start to sound a little bad. It's to be expected that the Catholic News Service finds Baby Mama "morally problematic"; if they didn't, they'd just be plain "News Service," and no one wants that. The New Yorker's review, where Anthony Lane argues that Tina "hasn’t yet made up her mind how funny her body is meant to be" augurs nothing positive, even though I barely understand what Lane is saying. We'll reserve further judgment until seeing Baby Mama ourselves, but it may have trouble topping MILF Island no matter how funny it is.
Her cute interview style has become a little over the top. Tina is the master of the quippy interview. Recently, she's done 5,000 of them, and it was inevitable that she would come across as cloying in a few, as when she took the fight to Jon Stewart, or informed an interviewer that "my daughter wore a power suit and had a teeny tiny resume made of candy." OK, that's pretty funny, but jokes about not having time to put lotion on? Take a nap and then write down some good interview anecdotes on notecards for the next one, will you Fey?
Tina, we volunteer to stop this backlash before it really gets rolling by way of sitting next to you during interviews and whispering, "That's cute, but stop it," in your ear whenever you stray off message. Even if your new movie disappoints, we will always have this sterling clip of you and Amy getting parental with Sigourney Weaver to cherish.