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My Baby's Daddy

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // June 1, 2004
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted June 4, 2004 | E-mail the Author
"Three Men and a Baby meets Boyz N The Hood!"

When I saw that blurb from the Dallas Morning News printed in big, bold letters on the flipside of the keepcase for My Baby's Daddy, my first thought was "...what?" I think this might have inspired a new game -- search Google for those sorts of blurbs and see how grossly they've been taken out of context. It's kinda funny to see an excerpt splashed prominently across the top of a video release when the review it came from is fairly tepid, but I guess Miramax's marketing guys shy away from phrases like "an uneasy mix of crude slapstick and warm-and-fuzzy life lessons" that pop up a paragraph or two later.

So, anyway. My Baby's Daddy stars Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson, and Michael Imperioli as three lifelong friends who haven't gotten around to doing much of anything with their lives yet. The nerdy Lonnie (Griffin) is a budding inventor who subjects himself to a series of menial, low-paying jobs, wannabe boxer G (Anderson) works for an Asian family he and his friends used to torment growing up, and Dominic (Imperioli) has his eye on fame and fortune as a hip-hop producer. Each of 'em hook up at Lonnie's birthday party. With women, I mean, not each other. Lonnie spends a night with a disinterested, money-grubbing hood rat (see? I'm down with the kids' lingo), G gets jiggy with his boss' daughter, and Dominic has an office fling with a co-worker who bats for both teams. The next day or some indeterminate amount of time later, they're all hit with the news -- they gonna be daddies! These three man-children quickly have to grow up and become men as they face fatherhood, patch up relationships, and, well, turn on TBS since Three Men and a Baby is probably on right now to fill in the rest.

Three leads, sparse laughter. Griffin spends the first half hour or however interminably long it was doing a grating, unconvincing Urkel impression. I mean, remember, I spend much of my free time writing reviews for a DVD enthusiast website: I know nerdy when I see it. Lonnie's the dorky one, Dominic is the cool one (I'm calling for an embargo of the use of "player", even though that's how he's continually described in the movie), and I guess that makes G the ostensibly funny guy. Or the fat guy, but the two are usually pretty interchangeable. I don't really think of Michael Imperioli as a comedic actor, but Eddie Griffin and Anthony Anderson have both proven that they can be funny when given the right material. My Baby's Daddy...? Not the right material. What passes for humor are the same warmed-over dick, fart, piss, and shit jokes that were stale a couple decades ago. My Baby's Daddy contributions are a baby's bottle full of Jolt and exchanges like "I think they hungry!" "Coo'. I'm-a go get some Mickey D's." They don't just crib from Three Men and a Baby, tossing in some extremely creepy baby talking a la Baby Geniuses. Equally unforgivable is the inclusion of the thrice-damned Sklar Brothers as a pair of white rappers.

Admittedly, here are a couple of really funny moments. After finding out that Lonnie is fawning over a young mother in his parenting class, G and Dominic take him under their wing, and his completely over-the-top, pimped-out performance in a club afterwards is hysterical, netting the movie's biggest laughs. Method Man has a small role as G's cousin No Good, an ex-con everyone expects to revert to old form pretty quickly. He plays "the thug with a heart of gold" really well, avoiding going too far in either direction. Even though My Baby's Daddy is predicated on a "fish out of water" premise (for future reviews, remind me to stop putting lots of clichés in quotes) with its characters thrust into a life they don't want and don't really understand, No Good is the only one who really sells it as he struggles with his past and his cousin's new family life. Even though Method Man probably has the shortest filmography of any of the main cast, he easily turns in the movie's best performance. The most memorable scene, the one that inspired me to scribble down that prolonged introduction, comes when No Good learns how tough a time G is having making ends meet, and he decides to help out by slapping a diaper across his face and robbing a baby store. Actually, the best characters are the ones that have the least screentime: The Kids in the Hall's Scott Thompson as a cashier in that scene, Tiny Lister as a thuggish hip-hop mogul, John Amos as G's ornery, wisdom-dispensing uncle... Strangers with Candy's Amy Sedaris also has a bit part as a parenting teacher that fans of her Comedy Central series might want to check out. A couple of laughs and a few good characters aren't enough salvage a pretty bad movie, and at 78 minutes long, My Baby's Daddy barely qualifies as a movie. Sappy, lethargic, and lame, My Baby's Daddy is too bland and uninspired to recommend.

Video: My Baby's Daddy, three words I'm still having a tough time typing in succession, is presented in anamorphic widescreen at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There are no glaring flaws -- free of any damage to the source material, just a handful of specks, no particularly intrusive authoring concerns... The movie was shot on a lower budget, which might explain the mild film grain and unimpressive level of detail. Pretty average stuff.

Audio: The only soundtrack is a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix encoded at a bitrate of 448Kbps. Anyone who's ever skimmed through a DVD review of a six-channel comedy can probably guess what I'm about to rattle off -- surrounds used just to reinforce the score and provide some light ambiance, most of the action's up front, dialogue comes through clearly in the center channel, etc., etc., etc. Completely average. I was kind of surprised to see how little action there was in the lower frequencies. I mean, bass response is fine, but considering how much hip-hop is tossed around, I was expecting more resounding, foundation-threatening, internal-organ-liquefying bass. There are also subtitles in English and Spanish, as well as closed captions.

Supplements: The biggest chunk of the extras are devoted to deleted and extended scenes. There are eighteen clips in all, running around 26 minutes total. Most of 'em are pretty short, sometimes consisting of just a few lines of dialogue swapped between characters. More from the first party, extended reactions to the news, a little more interaction between th' baby mommas and th' baby daddies, the dads struggling with kids, life, and love... The full Little T music video that runs over the end credits and a complete Brotha Stylz performance are also provided. There's also an alternate ending that follows that same voiceover epilogue-y type approach, but more clumsily by mostly rehashing a bunch of clips from earlier in the movie. The footage is all full-frame, by the way, and there's no "Play All" feature to whip through them quickly. These scenes aren't really any better or any worse than the rest of the movie, but I think one snippet used the word "entreprenigga" which I have to admit is pretty brilliant. The "Behind the Scenes Special" seems kinda mistitled, spending most of its seven minutes with the cast and crew pointing out the movie's underlying social message about fatherhood in the hip-hop generation or whatever. They talk about their own similar life experiences, how great it was to work with everyone, and...y'know, typical promotional featurette stuff. Finally, there's a two-minute gag reel.

The DVD opens with an easily-skipped plug for some other Miramax titles. The disc's menus are animated and enhanced for 16x9 displays, and an insert tucked into the keepcase lists the movie's seventeen chapter stops.

Conclusion: Who that is? That's just My Baby's Daddy, a mediocre comedy on a forgettable DVD. Overly devoted fans of the cast might want to pick up this disc as a rental, but I wouldn't suggest forking over your credit card to buy it, especially at its bloated $29.99 MSRP. Skip It.
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