Driven by the contagious energy of Younger’s Molly Bernard and the singular vision of writer/director Morgan Ingari, Milkwater drains comedy gold from a simplistic premise. Milo (Bernard) feels left out at her friend’s baby shower; all those around her have their life together while she flounders. A chance encounter with an older gay man, Roger (Patrick Breen), at a bar presents Milo with an ideal solution to her aimlessness: become his surrogate! As the pregnancy progresses, Milo gets increasingly dependent on Roger’s company to pull her out of her own emotional rut.
The script brings major laughs on a consistently impressive basis, supercharging every situation. Pregnancy staples, like finding out the gender of the child or selecting the name (as long as it’s not Edna!), are tinged with both dark humor and honesty. When Milo discovers she is pregnant, a shot of everyone crowded around the pee stick is adorable in its execution. The quotable zingers fly out at rapid pace, many of which come directly from Molly Bernard. After the deed itself, Milo says “I feel fertilized.”
As brilliant as the comedy bits are, the drama forms this into one complete package. Milo is flawed and complicated. As a friend tells her, she never makes decisions, she just acts impulsively. She wants to “do something bigger than herself,” yet I don’t think Milo realizes at first how much this is about her too. She channels past traumas, about her mom’s suicide and her father’s death from pancreatic cancer, into her want to deliver a beautiful baby to a parent who will love them.
Roger is a working drag queen, but this doesn’t mean he is any less lost at sea. He confesses to trying the surrogacy route several times over, leading him to believe that maybe having a baby isn’t in the cards. He hopes a child will scratch that itch he’s always wanted, a longing to be a father that has been present inside of him for years. Roger constantly makes self-deprecating jokes too, like when he tells Milo that “I wanted to be Freddie Mercury, but I knew I looked like Fred Savage.” Clever cameos from RuPaul’s Drag Race alums, Brita and Jiggly Caliente, give the film’s drag world a further sense of realism.
Simple scenes, like Roger reading to Milo or the two bonding over Roger’s fear of getting “whiskey dick,” allow their relationship to form an emotional connection. Halfway into the film, I was deeply invested in where this would take us. The conflict doesn’t derail the comedy, wisely maintaining the sharpest focus on Milo and Roger. If you’re in the right mood for a charming comedy (and an outrageously fun turn from Molly Bernard!) Milkwater is indie filmmaking at its hipster finest.
Milkwater is available for rental or purchase digitally nationwide on most platforms starting May 21, 2021.