Music By David Shire Soundtrack Album Review
"Baby Talk" Performed By Dave Frishberg
Kritzerland Records/17 Tracks/Disc Time: 44:45
"He Wants You To Have His Baby" was the tagline for the 1981 comedy "Paternity" that starred Oscar nominee Burt Reynolds ("Boogie Nights") as Buddy Evans, the GM of Madison Square Garden who also happens to be a single bachelor. While he's been the object of many women including Lauren Hutton for example, Buddy is infatuated with the idea of being a single father to pass on his legacy which soon becomes somewhat of a obsession for him against the wishes of his best friends (Norman Fell, "Three's Company" and Paul Dooley, "Sixteen Candles") who think the idea of having a surrogate mother to give birth to his child is little nutty and go along with it. However, everything changes when he meets Maggie (Beverly D'Angelo, "National Lampoon's Vacation"), who actually likes Buddy and falls for his crazy idea and in the process, ends up falling in love with her. The film was definitely not one of Burt Reynolds' best films, but it was a very charming and light comedy that despite some misfired moments, still is very funny and romantic.
Adding to this is the musical score of composer David Shire, who during the 1970's was one of the most in demand composers who brought class to his projects that were highlighted by some of his career best scores in "The Hindenberg", "Farewell, My Lovely", "The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3", "Straight Time", "All The President's Men" and "Norma Rae." Shire like many composers in the early 80's were making a bit of a transition to what the 1980's style would be as more electronics would either dominate or aid new film scores that included orchestra. "Paternity" falls somewhere between the latter and the former utilizing an electronic vibe at times that was part of the fusion of that part of the decade along side his traditional orchestra. When the orchestra is there, it is a very nice score that Shire pulls off and in particular the finale of the film which is easily the best of the score.
"Baby Talk-Main Titles" opens with those electronic beats I talked about then shifting to a wonderful rendition of the love theme for Burt Reynolds and Beverly D'Angelo's characters (and the best thing about this score without question) and then to a rather, well goofy vocal rendition of a song called "Baby Talk", performed by Dave Frishberg which (would go on to win the Razzie as the worst song in a movie) is pretty much in line with future Razzie Winner Michael Franks' song for "Author, Author" a year later. There is an Instrumental Version of Shire's nice Main Title included as a bonus track here on this album so I would recommend programing that into the sequence to spare yourself the pain. The score is breezy, comedic and romantic and alot to like once you get past the insipid song that actually gets better use throughout Shire's score like "Crappy Birthday", "The Buddy System", "Park Scene" and "Follow That Cab" that mixes some nice big band and a great Stephane Grappelli esque violin solo which I enjoyed alot. I really loved the track "Conception Sequence" which is a sultry romantic vain with solo trumpet, strings, flute, and alto saxophone which is a beautiful, tender and flat out rapturous track filled to the brim with lyrical melody that makes this score one step above the average comedy score. The tracks "Remembrance Montage" and "I Love You - Finale & End Credits", which I also personally enjoyed, really bring out the best in the material which is really dynamite taking a great cue from the "Conception Sequence". Sweeping romantic strings and a reprise of the love theme really bring everything to a great close to this score and the album.
This is the first ever release of David Shire's original score which had been planned for an LP release during the films' release in 1981 for the now forgotten film which shows up on HBO and Cinemax from time to time, isn't a bad album or score. What really and unfortunately does it in is the Frishberg song itself which is flat out bad and it really does overshadow Shire's really nice score on the album. However, that shouldn't discourage you from buying the album especially if you're a fan of David Shire's, and especially for the tracks I've mentioned which are just fabulous. You can always skip that dreaded vocal and enjoy his nice little material that was the perfect marriage for this film. "Paternity" is a nice score by David Shire for a film that I did enjoy watching which isn't Burt Reynolds' best moment clearly, but I will give the score a marginal but affectionate thumbs up for Shire's material. But a flat out way way way down for that awful song. Ugh.