out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Snoop Doggy Dogg, Angell Conwell, Omar Gooding, Taraji P. Henson, Alexsandra Wright, Tamara LaSeon Bass, A.J. Johnson||
Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4
In previous films like "Boyz N the Hood," writer/director John
Singleton has focused on understanding troubled black men trapped in
South Central L.A. but in this new film he is critical of them for not
growing up and achieving their potential. The opening narration shows
a young black man floating in a womb; he calls his best friend his "boy,"
his girlfriend his "mama," and his home his "crib." It is Singleton's
thesis that pervasive racism and a lack of role models have psychologically
infantalized African-American men. And it's obvious from the getgo that
20 year-old Jody (R&B singer and MTV veejay Tyrese Gibson), accepts little
responsibility for his own life. Still living rent-free at home with his
mother (A.J. Johnson), he aimlessly shuttles between the mothers of his
two children, Yvette (Tajari P. Henson) and Peanut (Tamara LeSeon Bass).
"One thing I know how to do is make pretty babies," he brags. Occasionally
he and his violence-prone buddy Sweetpea (Omar Gooding, Cuba's
younger brother) fence stolen clothes but mostly they hang out, smoking,
munching and watching TV. Jody refuses to commit - to a woman, to a job,
to a relationship. This infuriates his mother's new lover, Melvin (Ving
Rhames), a tattooed ex-con with his own gardening business, who notes
Jody's obvious Oedipal complex. It all leads to a confrontation with
Yvette's evil gangsta ex (rapper Snoop Dogg). But in his eagerness to
deliver a cautionary message, John Singleton falls into the trap of
creating a superficial, contrived, coming-of-age melodrama. Plus, the
vulgar, raunchy language, drug use, nudity and graphic, even degrading
sexuality may discourage mainstream audiences. So, on the Granger Movie
Gauge of 1 to 10, "Baby Boy" is a provocative but preachy 5, targeted
primarily to an urban audience.
Copyright © 2001 Susan Granger
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