She’s Having a Baby (1988) – John Hughes

Kevin Bacon is Jake Briggs, in She’s Having a Baby, which was produced, written and directed by John Hughes, and is arguably one of his most personal projects, as Bacon plays a variation of an everyman, someone who is trying to find his way, trying to discover whether he’s happy in his life, if this is what he amounts to, and the love story he shares with his wife, Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern).

And while Jake is undeniably the lead of the film, he’s actually telling Kristy’s story through his eyes as he grows. With designs on writing a novel, Jake works in Chicago as an ad man, while living in one of its suburbs, anyone want to guess on Shermer?

His in-laws aren’t fans, and they and his parents are pressuring the couple to deliver on grandchildren. Is Kristy ready? Is he ready?

Throughout a large part of the film, Briggs feels almost like a passive character, letting things happen to and around him, it’s not until he realizes he’s so engaged, so emotionally wrapped up in Kristy, and their life, that he realizes how much it all means to him.

But it’s Kristy’s decision that moves the couple forward, and it’s then that Jake has to decide what he really wants. He wants to know he’s still attractive to the opposite sex, that he’s not wasting his life. He knows that he loves Kristy, but is it enough? Will it be enough?

And does he realize it is enough?

While frequently funny, there’s a poignancy to the film in which I’m sure countless male viewers can relate to. And like all Hughes films, there is great dialogue, perfect needle drops, and laugh out loud moments, until the last fifteen minutes of the film, which is when you realize, like Briggs, you’re wrapped up in this relationship to.

And while perhaps not as funny as some of his other films, and definitely not a teen dramedy, She’s Having a Baby is still a lot of fun, there’s an open earnestness to this film that isn’t necessarily present in some of Hughes other films and scripts.

The film also features a lot of familiar faces, a young Alec Baldwin, John Ashton, Edie McClurg, Larry Hankin and Paul Gleason. And things get even better during the credit role as lots of familiar faces show up to add a suggestion or two before the last credit rolls.

Of all of Hughes’ films this is the one I’ve seen the fewest amount of times, but every time I watch it, I’m older, and it resonates a little more.

Man I miss John Hughes.

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