I just got back from a screening of Baby Mama (more on that in a bit), and one scene stuck out and reminded me of something that really irritates the fool out of me in movies — when there’s a scene with a background day-player who, because a line of dialogue would give them a big bump in salary, is forced to remain silent, when in real life the person in whatever situation they’re in would have said something, made an exclamation, a frickin’ noise of some sort.
In Baby Mama it’s a brief part of a montage in which an employee of a juice shop owned by Greg Kinnear, with his boss standing right in front of him, makes a smoothie without putting the top on the blender. Ha! It goes everywhere, naturally… and he stands there, mouth agape, while we hold for a too-long bit, so that the movie can cut on the beat of the song in the background. Stuff like this takes you out of a moment, and drives me insane. Studios can spend tens of thousands of dollars on craft services, making sure there’s Red Bull, coffee and iced coffee, but somehow not give a shit about habitual, quite fixable, stupid problems like this. In a bad film, yes, it’s way down on the list of offenses, but in a decent movie it can be like a lingering graze of the nutsack.