Movies That Age Poorly: Nine Months (1995)

Julianne-Moore-Hugh-Grant_lDirected by Chris Columbus
Written by Chris Columbus

Growing up in an avidly religious household and being basically forced in to committing to ceremonies like Communion and Sunday school, you’re given a lot of different messages that are hardly ever second guessed. When you’re a child you’re fed a lot of crap because often you’re just too young to try to contradict or argue an adult’s lesson. And if you do, you’re often disciplined for doing so, so all attempts are rendered irrelevant. All my childhood, I was told that the true key to happiness is having children and not questioning your beliefs. “Nine Months” is that movie I didn’t realize was a pro life manifesto that passive aggressively pushes religious undertones on its audience. The subtle themes come through loud and clear after watching it for the first time in years, and it’s a shame such a trite commentary was considered prime comedy when released.

I don’t recall it ever garnering rave reviews upon its release, but in the past this was a great time. Years later, I see it for what it is, and I’m not sure I am happy with what it pushes. It’s a dedication to the conservative suburban life where child rearing is an absolute must, while single life is simply a cold barren wasteland. Meanwhile, it makes anyone without children, and unwilling to have children look cold, heartless, and vapid. It IS possible to live a fulfilling life without children. The epitome of single life is Goldblum, often depicted as inconsiderate, self-involved, childish, and the basic example of folks living without children in their life.

Beyond the overtones “Nine Months” (did you know that this is a remake of a French romantic comedy?) simply isn’t very funny and is merely reliant on a series of sitcomish pratfalls and coincidences that fail to push even the slightest of laughs. Look, he got hit in the head by a kite! Look he got hit in the head by a swinging girl! Look, he got slapped by a little girl! Isn’t that fu…? No! It’s not! “Nine Months” also has that distinction of sporting a cast of actors that have mostly just played variations of themselves, particularly the three principle stars.

The annoying Tom Arnold plays Tom Arnold yet again only to work off of Hugh Grant who, in any setting, is just another version of Hugh Grant, while his best friend played by Jeff Goldblum plays another variation of, yes, Jeff Goldblum. One of the few funny highlights is the fist fight between Arnold, Grant, and an obnoxious purple dinosaur named Arnie who begs for them to buy his merchandise, calls them names and proceeds to go one on one with them in front of gawking crying children. It’s a hilarious jab by anyone who still remembers the disgusting popularity of Barney the Dinosaur in the nineties.

“Nine Months” is a pro-life propaganda that is always very careful not to insert the pretense of religion or god, even though it becomes quite clear why we’re watching by the end of the movie. Folks who work at having baby after baby are depicted as selfless, warm, loving, nurturing, outspoken, intelligent, and giving, while folks choosing not to have babies are often selfish, self-centered, cold, pretentious, pompous, and antagonistic. Goldblum who plays the brother working on not having children is often the prime example of that list, a petty immature person whose own lack of children makes him an obstacle, while Samuel’s own fear of children is never quite focused on why he’s scared, but more on why he’s acting like a coward in the first place.

153046__9months_lHe doesn’t want children, thus he should be disliked until the sonogram for his son pops up and he changes in to a man we must root for. Much more allusions are made in the second half where Sam’s wife Rebecca leaves him after he forgets to attend her third appointment where she explains how her single friends wouldn’t want to have her around, and when we glimpse at Goldblum’s life; as expected: he’s a pretty vapid empty individual because he has no children. He has no consideration to others feelings and is so obsessed with getting tail, that he doesn’t notice Samuel rolling down a hill and hurting himself. And in the series of events played out during Columbus’s dramedy, no one ever wonders if Rebecca is just being a royal bitch to Samuel.

She changes her mind at the drop of a hat, is a constant cock tease and allows no free will for the man. She makes him give up his cat, his beloved car, and (likely) his house for the new baby and expects him to snap to it, rather than ease in to it. And she’s still the protagonist. She also puts up a hissy fit because he’s afraid of change and refuses to give away the things he’s worked so hard for. Samuel, however is reduced to a villain because he simply refuses to give up his beloved pet and prized possession that he insists he worked hard for. She doesn’t care.  What does Rebecca do? “Either give up your stuff, or me, and your baby are gone.” What does Samuel do? He trades everything in his life to get her back. You say romantic, I say just plain stupid.

The final blow after he begs for her forgiveness for wanting to keep some part of his life in tact is her last criticism of an earring he’s wearing destroying any individuality he holds on to. And he complies.  And who can forget the hissy fit she puts up when Samuel comes in contact with a woman he dated while they were splitting up? Which she makes Samuel feel guilty for. Samuel of course begs for forgiveness. Sigh. The only aspect of life “Nine Months” perpetuates is that some women are cunts who often use their cunts as weapons to get their men to do what they want and eliminate any defiance for fear of losing their children. We all know how it ends. Samuel gets Rebecca, and his son. But at the end of the movie he dances with his beautiful child, and his wife, and sadly all sense of identity and personality he fought to keep in the first half of the film has completely disappeared.

Rebecca got a child, and of course she has her husband under her thumb. You say happy ending, I say complete crock. We all give up stuff when we have children, but isn’t it often by choice? Is Samuel really a happy man when we leave him? But don’t let me be the judge. Most people seem to like this, at least most people I’ve spoken to. For a while I bought in to the notion that complete happiness was having children, too. You can’t not feel that way when religion, kid’s films, and family insist all your life that the true source of satisfaction is bearing a child, and nothing else. Hey, if happiness to you is using your wife’s cooch as a conveyor belt for little brats who are going to leave you broke and chasing them around like a caretaker, then by all means, have at it, it’s just ridiculous that “Nine Months” attempts to make you feel bad for opting out of having children and makes the probability of a relationship surviving without a child impossible.

It’s the only kind of pro-life Conservative bull crap that seeps in to pop culture that only Chris Columbus is capable of.