This is a movie about pie: eating pie, serving pie, baking pie, talking about pie, and finding deep meaning in pie that pie doesn't really possess. Jenna (Keri Russell), a knocked-up waitress in an unspecified southern land, has just invented a new pie: It's called "I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie," or, for short, "Bad Baby Pie." Jenna lives in fear of her violent, pathetic husband, Earl (Jeremy Sisto, whom I will never stop loving), and works in a diner owned by a senile Andy Griffith (wow, still alive!).
Luckily, kinda, Jenna falls in love with her sweet OB/GYN, who is a little too into pie for my taste. ("What you do with food is unearthly. It's sensual.") Jenna never knew that a man could also be a best friend: someone who will listen to her talk about pie, and say insipid shit to her ("You're so beautiful and so sexy, and I could find the whole meaning of life in those sad eyes"), and never rape her or punch her in the face, and also sometimes pull babies out of her vagina. Every little girl's dream, right? Unfortch, the doc is saddled with a redheaded wife who loves him, and Jenna is saddled with Earl's stupid baby ("Little Baby Screamin' its Head off and Ruinin' My Life Pie"). Bummer.
Writer, director, and co-star Adrienne Shelly (who, by the way, was freakishly murdered last year by a 19-year-old construction worker) shines in the film's quirky comedic angles, and fails dismally in the sentimental ones—the film's massive, saccharine slices of earnest goo (mostly about how babies are miracle cures for lonely women) are unbearable. So if you want something poignant, chew on this instead: Shelly's real-life two-year-old daughter plays the part of Jenna's two-year-old daughter, in a movie made by her murdered mother about the bond between mothers and daughters. Huh. That calls for a big old slice of "My Dead Mother Will Never Get to Teach Me How to Make Pie Pie."