"Baby Comes Home," the CBS made-for-TV movie on Channel 9 at 9 tonight, isn't quite up to the late and still lamented "Family," although it might have been -- and it's too bad it isn't.
"Baby" has some fine acting, some good lines -- occasionally even great ones -- but the aftertaste from the saccharine storyline is lingering. And there are too many niggling inconsistencies to make "Baby's" Kramer family as believable as a viewer really wants it to be, as "Family's" family was. (For one, no bookcases full of books. A family so musical that its members know which Vivaldi season is playing as the car radio goes on simply must be voracious readers as well. For another thing, after all the angst about getting old, I simply do not believe this family would have a "48 Years YOUNG" sign at the birthday party. No. No. No.
"Baby's" biggest problem, though, is its length. It might have been a dynamite hour, an interesting 90 minutes, but two hours?
Basically, it is the story of Anna Kramer (Colleen Dewhurst) who has her menopause baby (at 47) and between it and her terror of hitting 50, lets her life start going to the dogs (or the diapers -- "plastic ones aren't good for the environment.") It is a sequel to last season's "Baby Makes Six," but each play stands alone as a more-or-less dramatic unit.
The upshot of it all is that Anna finds Truth, Equilibrium and The Meaning Of It All when she is trying to persuade her teen-age son's best friend not to fling himself from the top of a tower because he got a 450 on his math SAT.
There is a wonderful exchange here where she muses that the friend's problem is his 450, her son's is his not much better 485 and her own is her approaching 50. "You might say," says the son, who is also up there on the tower threatening to jump too, if his friend does, "our days are numbered."
Anyway, after a few heartfelt and heartrendered cliches like "If yesterday was rotten . . . there is always, always, always tomorrow," the best friend falls safely into. Anna's arms and practically in the next scene she once more falls into the arms of her long neglected hubby, played with forbearance by Warren Oates.
Other family memebers and friends are Devon Ericson, Fred Lehne, Christopher Marcantel, Mildred Dunnock, Paul McCrane, David Huffman and Dena Dietrich.
And somebody's very cute baby.