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By Eric Campos | January 21, 2008

For high school graduate Melissa Brooks (yes, it’s a Mel Brooks reference), lofty dreams of quick success and great wealth are shot down once her immediate financial situation puts college out of reach. So she moves away from home to live with her musician brother and his boyfriend in New York City for some adventures in living. Discouraged by her inability to attend college and unsure with what she wants to do with her life, she settles for adventures in waitressing. She begins waitressing at a comedy club and eventually works up her nerve to hit the stage herself. It’s rough going at first, but she keeps at it and finds that she had a hidden gift for comedy deep down inside…she just had to work to get it out.

Once you get past the none too convincing giving up on college because she can’t afford it part of the story, “Goodbye Baby” offers viewers a charming growing up in the big city drama laced with plenty of humor – a good chunk of the film does take place at a comedy club after all, so there had better be some laughs. And there are. Some may be reminded of Sally Field’s character from “Punch Line” where a housewife works up her comedy chops in front of a crowd. Kind of the same thing here…but I prefer Christine Evangelista as Melissa Brooks over Sally Field any day. She’s hot, okay? And not all housewifey. But ultimately, she sells the character better…jokes were funnier, too.

But this isn’t a “One Night Stand” HBO comedy special. I did mention that this was a drama, yeah? And that drama lies in past family tragedy involving Melissa’s alcoholic father and the steps she and her brother take to somehow make amends. If that wasn’t enough heartache, Melissa starts seeing a guy she meets in a support group for addicts. She begins attending the group in order to help gather the nerve and confidence to speak publicly on stage. Of course, this guy she meets also has a dark past – I guess you pretty much have to have one if you ever find yourself in one of these support groups – so it comes as little surprise to us that this guy’s life is f****d up, but Melissa on the other hand is shocked when she learns the details of his past. Another unbelievable misstep In the narrative here, but one you’re willing to forgive.

So, yeah, there are a couple of little story and character flubs here, but they’re not so glaring as to hinder your enjoyment of the film that is, well, quite enjoyable, reinforced by strong and very likeable performances, including some familiar faces such as Alan “Cameron Frye” Ruck and Fred “You will eat the cat poop!” Armisen.

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