Most everyone is familiar with the "hipster nonsense" genre: a mixed cast of stars and unknowns drift along amicably with a low-stakes plot, until the film reaches an expected conclusion and you wonder why you bothered watching this movie.
Nasty Baby is not that film.
But you think it might be, from the way it starts out. Chilean director, screenwriter, and actor Sebastián Silva chronicles the efforts of gay couple Freddy (Silva) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe, lead singer of TV on the Radio and co-star of Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married) to have a baby with their friend Polly (Kristen Wiig). It's a plot that we've seen in film and television before, but there are at least some exciting dimensions to the dynamics that offer a fresh perspective. Freddy and Mo are in an interracial relationship, Freddy being Chilean and Mo being African-American, and many of the other characters are women or people of color. It was one of the more diverse offerings at OutFest 2015 this year, which was completely refreshing.
The characters are fully realized enough that their story feels unique to them, and the dialogue is at times hilarious, but overall, the film still has the weight of "been there, done that." Perhaps that's why the plot takes such a staggering twist 30 minutes before its conclusion.
To reveal more would mean serious spoilers, which has to be a first for a mumblecore indie. But in terms of what can be said: The film's New York setting brings with it all that you'd expect from the cinematic standby — an artist working on a really, really weird art installation, and a possibly mentally ill homeless person who becomes familiar to the residents of a particular neighborhood. These two pieces of New York converge once we reach the film's conclusion, and the plot immediately takes a left turn to the tragic and utterly batshit insane.
Does it work for the film? It's riveting, to be sure, and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the film's last act, but it feels tacked on — an unnecessary, if not wholly irresponsible, final message. Since the twist occurs so late in the game, it's impossible for it to be resolved in any way that's dramatically satisfying, and you're left feeling like the first season of a television show you really enjoy just went completely off the rails in its season finale.
The only difference here is there's no more story to tell. Nasty Baby is one part hipster indie film, one part melodramatic Lifetime thriller, and neither complement the other or make for a comfortable viewing experience.