Baby Boy

"Excellent"

Baby Boy Review


Ten years after releasing the groundbreaking Boyz N the Hood, writer-director John Singleton revisits his "young black man in the ghetto struggling against a violent end" cautionary tale, but with more humor and realism, in his newest film Baby Boy, showing that maybe baby boy Singleton's done some growing up himself.

In the same South Central Los Angeles neighborhood, real life is about to crash down on 20-year-old Jody (model/singer/VJ Tyrese Gibson). He has two children by two different "baby mamas" -- level-headed Yvette (Taraji Henson) and too-young Peanut (Tamara LaSeon Bass) -- he's unemployed, and he's still living with his own mama Juanita (A.J. Johnson). He's also clashing with his mom's new man, an aging "O.G." named Melvin (Ving Rhames) who's looking to move in; and, he's got to keep his volatile roughneck friend Sweetpea (Cuba Jr.'s brother Omar Gooding) out of trouble, without getting dragged down into more trouble himself. And to top things off, he's seeing competition from Yvette's ex-con ex-boyfriend (the inimitable Snoop Dogg).

While this all-too-familiar story of inner city woe has been done to death over the last decade, Singleton manages to keep it fresh and unpredictable by steering the plot in unconventional directions throughout the movie. He puts unusual yet plausible twists on such overplayed topics as drive-by shootings and domestic abuse, and still manages to deliver some powerful messages in the mix. And unlike the caricaturized roles in Boyz, he's created very complex characters that are more believably flawed. Instead of Laurence Fishburne's ultra-Zen and all-knowing father, we get Ving Rhames' reformed killer who wants to teach Jody how to be a man, but has very little patience for his hardheaded immaturity. Thankfully, Singleton seems to have gotten a better sense of humor these last few years (maybe Shaft loosened him up?) and peppers the movie with a number of hilarious scenes, including one where Jody walks in on a totally naked Melvin cooking eggs for breakfast.

It also seems that Singleton has great luck with putting non-actors to work in his movies. Just as Ice Cube showed his acting chops as Dough Boy in Boyz, Snoop really produces with a menacing role, and film newcomer Tyrese turns out a dramatic and varied starring performance. Singleton's women are even more stunning, especially Johnson as the tough and torn Juanita and Henson, who handles Yvette's roller coaster emotions with skill.

By refusing to be as dogmatic or overly simplistic as he's been with his other films, Singleton may have redeemed himself and his talent with Baby Boy. Perhaps now we can erase those bad memories of Higher Learning.

Do a wheelie, will ya?



Baby Boy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 27th June 2001

Box Office USA: $27.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $29.4M

Budget: $16M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 65 Rotten: 27

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Joseph Summers, Taraji P. Henson as Yvette, as Sweetpea, as Melvin 'Mel', as Rodney, Adrienne-Joi Johnson as Juanita, as Kim, Kareem J. Grimes as Do Dirty, as Sharika

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.