“Baby Mama” (PG-13): In this gyne-comedy, former “Saturday Night Live” castmates Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reteam for a tale of an overachiever (Fey) whose biological clock is about to strike midnight, so she hires a dubious young woman (Poehler) to serve as a surrogate mother.
Speaking of dynamic duos, martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li team up for the first time in “The Forbidden Kingdom” (PG-13), mentoring a Boston teen (Michael Angarano) who lives for kung-fu movies — until he finds himself in one, transporting a magical staff back to its legendary owner with the help of a drunken master (Chan) and a silent monk (Li).
Rounding out the week’s theatrical releases: “The Fall” (R), visual whiz Tarsem Singh’s remake of the 1981 Bulgarian movie “Yo Ho Ho,” set in 1920s Los Angeles, about a paralyzed movie stuntman (Lee Pace) who mesmerizes a hospitalized little girl (Catinca Untaru) with tales of larger-than-life heroes.
Turning to the unseen and unknown, realism and fantasy collide in “Light and the Sufferer” (not rated) as a mysterious alien alters the lives of two estranged brothers (one of whom is played by “There Will Be Blood’s” Paul Dano). The “Crash”-style “South of Pico” (not rated), meanwhile, casts Henry Simmons, Kip Pardue and Gina Torres in an ensemble drama about the aftermath of a car-vs.-bicycle collision.
Shifting from unknown to known quantities, “Essential Art House, Volume 1” (not rated) collects great works by great filmmakers, including Ingmar Bergman’s “Wild Strawberries,” Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon,” Roman Polanski’s “Knife in the Water” and Jean Renoir’s “Grand Illusion.”
Also from the vintage vault: a two-disc special edition of “How the West Was Won” (G), a deluxe edition of “Cool Hand Luke” (PG) and a 10th-anniversary edition of “The Big Lebowski” (R) that includes limited-edition bowling ball packaging.
Leading today’s documentary lineup, director Martin Scorsese goes “In Search of Kundun” (G), exploring Tibet’s tumultuous recent history through production footage from his Oscar-nominated 1998 movie. In “Heckler” (R), Jamie Kennedy investigates hecklers and the comics who endure them, from Roseanne Barr to Bill Maher.
Also in the nonfiction realm, “Kicking It” (not rated) focuses on 500 soccer players from 48 nations competing for the World Cup — the Homeless World Cup. And “14 Women” (not rated) focuses on the female members of the 109th Congress — and their struggles to balance their personal and political lives.
Tuning in to TV transfers, the second season of “Ugly Betty” joins the third season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the fourth season of “Grey’s Anatomy,” the sixth seasons of “CSI: Miami” and “Medium” and the seventh seasons of “Smallville” and “Wings” (all unrated).
And for the kids, “Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour” (PG), follows an intrepid teen investigating a small-town mystery. “Barbie and the Diamond Castle” (not rated) continues the title doll’s animated storybook adventures, while “Thomas and Friends: The Great Discovery” (G) keeps the title tank engine on track.
Metallica, “Death Magnetic”: In recent years, the only thing Metallica has been a magnet for is criticism: The band received more crap than your average Porta John for their more streamlined, radio-friendly releases in the ’90s and then salted the wound for many with the odd, tinny drum sound of 2003’s “St. Anger.”
But with their new disc (which comes out this Friday instead of having the usual Tuesday release date) Metallica reassert themselves as the silver-backed alpha male gorilla of heavy metal.
Comparable to the band’s mid- to late-’80s golden years in terms of tone and temperament, “Death Magnetic” is filled with long, dense rippers peppered with the return of Kirk Hammett’s fiery soloing (which was absent from “St. Anger”) and a gruff, palpable rage.
“Master of Puppets”?
Masters of their domain?
Also in stores: Joan Baez, “Day After Tomorrow”; Eric Benét, “Love & Life”; Calexico, “Carried to Dust”; Natalie Cole, “Still Unforgettable”; Michael Franti & Spearhead, “All Rebel Rockers”; Gym Class Heroes, “The Quilt”; Kardinal Offishall, “Not 4 Sale”; LL Cool J, “Exit 13”; Patty Loveless, “Sleepless Nights”; Okkervil River, “The Stand Ins”; Joan Osborne, “Little Wild One”; Jessica Simpson, “Do You Know?”; and Tricky, “Knowle West Boy.”
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell team up again for another children’s book, this one titled “Big Words for Little People.” The latest addition in the “Books to Grow By” series “helps little people communicate in a big person’s world,” with words such as cooperate, considerate and persevere.
Also hitting shelves: “Maze Of Bones (39 Clues, Book 1)” by Rick Riordan; “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” by Thomas L. Friedman; “The Stowaway (Stone of Tymora, Book 1)” by Geno Salvatore and R.A. Salvatore; “Ballistics: Poems” by Billy Collins; “Bob Schieffer’s America” by Bob Schieffer; “Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise” by Barack Obama; and “The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008, Vol. 4” by Bob Woodward.