My Baby's Daddy
After a lifetime of hard partying, three bachelor buddies are in for a rude awakening when their girlfriends all get pregnant at the same time. This bare-minimum premise might have worked had it stuck to straight-up comedy, but the film changes genres like a newborn baby goes through disposable diapers.
Lonnie (Eddie Griffin), Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and G (Anthony Anderson), three childhood friends now in their twenties, live a pretty indolent lifestyle: They live with Lonnie's uncle and their only goals are to party--hard. So the boys are in for a rude awakening when their respective girlfriends all get pregnant at the same time. And it doesn't help that all three have somewhat strained relationships with their girlfriends already. Lonnie's girlfriend is a skanky stripper who gets pregnant in order to collect $300 a week from him, while Dominic's develops a blossoming crush on her own midwife. Although G's relationship with his girlfriend is more grounded than those of his buddies', her constant demands that he give up boxing, his favorite pastime, is driving a wedge between them. But when the men decide to toss their negativity out the window and channel their energies into parenting rather than partying, they realize that fatherhood has its rewards. Viewers, meanwhile, will view the transformation and wonder what happened to the comedy they paid to see.
My Baby's Daddy would be insufferable if it weren't for the comedic flair of Griffin, Imperioli and Anderson. Griffin's character Lonnie, the most clownish, is a nerd with oversized glasses, so there is the requisite makeover scene in which his friends try to teach him how to walk the walk and talk the talk of a suave ''player.'' But the outcome is a new Lonnie that is Griffin's forte: A character reminiscent of Anton Jackson, aka Undercover Brother. By contrast, Anderson's character is the most genuine of the bunch, a hardworking sweetie who doesn't always do the right thing. G often says things that aren't exactly politically correct but we forgive him (and even laugh) because he always has the best intentions. Rounding out the threesome is Imperioli as Dominic, the craftiest one of the bunch. With his dry wit, Imperioli generates subtle laughs by crafting a character that is more the target of the film's slapstick rather than the initiator. There are also some worthwhile performances from Method Man and Tommy Lister, Jr., but with such an impressive roster of comedic talent, how did this project go so wrong?
The most obvious problem with My Baby's Daddy is its blatant inconsistency. The film starts off on a positive note with an animated opening sequence in a Fat Albert vein that traces Lonnie, Dominic and G's friendship from birth--all to the tune of Run D.M.C.'s ''Peter Piper.'' Although this prelude briefly gives My Baby's Daddy a hip, retro quality, it quickly crumbles into a messy piece of filmmaking. Scribes Damon 'Coke' Daniels and Griffin, in his screenwriting debut, deliver a formulaic script with too much insipid drama. The plot and characters are established hastily within the first 10 minutes of the film and the story subsequently plays out like an outline, with each scene mechanically taking viewers in a straight line from point a to point b. This genreless film drifts without direction from a comedy, to a spoof, to a drama. Director Cheryl Dunye, meanwhile, seems more concerned with churning out a short and dirty movie then a creative one, but gets credit for adding gusto to the old kick-in-the-groin gag--she follows it up with a fart.
My Baby's Daddy is marred by an inconsistent storyline and shoddy direction, which is a sorry and surprising letdown considering it features such a strong roster of comedic talent.