As a child, if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was usually “a jockey” or “a private detective.” Silly, right? Only men should have those jobs -- at least back then. In Goodbye Baby, lovely Christine Evangelista plays a young woman with another supposedly unfeminine ambition. She wants to be a standup comic, even though she’s told, “You don’t want to laugh at a pretty girl; you want to sleep with her.” But she sticks to her guns, and this character-driven movie shows how one very pretty girl proves women can be just as funny as men -- and sometimes, even funnier.
After graduating from an affluent high school, Melissa Brooks (Evangelista) listens to her friends talk about their college plans and their desire to become successful in such prestigious fields as law and medicine. Melissa, however, decides to spend the summer with her brother Robbie (Ivan Sandomire) in New York City. She loves living in The Big Apple and takes a waitress job at Perlman’s Comedy Club after bombing with her first appearance before the audience there.
Under the sympathetic eye of the club’s owner (Jerry Adler), Melissa soon finds the courage to try her standup routine again. She gets a few laughs, then improves each time she takes the stage. Because of her success, some of the male comics can’t help feeling jealous. Despite the personal as well as professional obstacles she faces, Melissa’s courage, drive and sense of humor help her achieve a goal she only dreamed of while growing up. Evangelista, an actress the camera seems to love, delivers an appealing performance that helps us understand what Melissa is going through.
To me, even thinking of getting up on a stage ALONE and trying to make people laugh is scary, so I greatly admire standup comics. However, I don’t know why most of them go for laughs by emphasizing crude humor during their "sets." Although there's too much of this approach in Goodbye Baby, it probably adds to the realism of the movie.
I recommend Goodbye Baby, written and directed by Daniel Schechter, to all those brave women thinking about entering the world of standup comedy. I think it's a fitting companion film to Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, a recent documentary featuring all male standup comics.
(Released by Cinevolve Studios: not rated by MPAA.)