Baby Boy

2001

Baby Boy

Critics Consensus

Preachy and repetitive in parts, Baby Boy still manages to exude authenticity, thanks to its competent cast.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 92

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 62,663
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Movie Info

Ten years later, writer and director John Singleton returns to the South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods of his debut film Boyz 'N the Hood (1991). Tyrese Gibson stars as Jody, a jobless 20-year-old African-American man who has fathered two children by two different women, Yvette (Taraji P. Henson) and Peanut (Tamara LaSeon Bass), although he still lives with his 36-year-old mother Juanita (Adrienne-Joi Johnson). As Jody grapples with the increasing pressures of adult responsibility, he also contends with his troubled best friend Sweetpea (Omar Gooding) and new adversary Rodney (Snoop Doggy Dogg). Then there's his mother's live-in boyfriend Marvin (Ving Rhames), a reformed gangsta who agrees with Juanita that her son should grow up, move out, and move on. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Baby Boy

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (27)

  • The characters are so full-bodied and the feelings so raw and complex that I'd call this the best thing John Singleton has done to date

    Jan 29, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Johnson and Rhames are superb as Jody's charming, hard-working mother and her ex-con boyfriend Melvin.

    Nov 12, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Jane Crowther

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • I felt myself drawn into a vortex of raw emotion from which I could not escape.

    Jul 12, 2001 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • One of the most entertaining African-American comedies of manners ever made.

    Jul 6, 2001

    David Edelstein

    Slate
    Top Critic
  • [Jody's] lessons on growing up and moving on never ring more than halfhearted and false.

    Jul 6, 2001 | Full Review…
  • What holds the movie together ... is Gibson's broodingly responsive performance.

    Jul 2, 2001 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Baby Boy

  • Aug 26, 2010
    Ving Rames banging this guys mom hopping through the house...priceless.
    Sean G Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2010
    I can't really rate this accurately because I still have no idea if it was supposed to be an accurate depiction or mockery of the ghetto life. I'm going to say that it is because that's the best way to watch it. Saying that, it is by far one of the funniest and perfect satires to ever exist. John Singleton takes the stereotypes of the culture and throws them into the real world, making for a hilarious result. The characters are almost all crazy and devoid of any logic. The story is literally about a man juggling his two baby-momas with his home life. I think this was an odd yet bold move for John Singleton because it questions a lot about the stereotypical thug life.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2010
    [first lines] Jody: There's this psychiatrist, a lady named Frances Chris Walson. She has a theory about the black man in America. She says because of the system of racism in this country, the black man is meant to think of himself as a baby. A not yet fully formed being, who has not yet realized his full potential. To support her claim, she offers the following: First off, what does a black man call his woman? Mama. Secondly, what does a black man call his closest acquaintances? His boys. And finally, what does a black man call his place of residence? The crib. Sweet Pea: I'm not going to use the b-word. I just call y'all unstable creatures. <div style="width:400px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/baby-boy-taraji--tyrese-in-baby-boy-5616301"><img src="http://content7.flixster.com/photo/56/16/30/5616301_gal.gif" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com">Flixster</a> - Share Movies</div></div> Baby boy is the story of a young man, who apparently like many others in the inner-city, refuses to accept the duties and responsibilities of adulthood. He doesn't wish to "leave the nest" as his mother suggests he do in an early scene. Jody Summers, played by the charismatic Tyrese Gibson, is a representation for the kind of man Singleton wishes to indict with his film. Jody is twenty years old. He still lives with his mother, he has no steady job, he has children with two different women (that we know of), no car.... the list goes on. We see an intelligence within the young man that at times wants to bubble to the surface, but always seems to get stifled by bad decisions that usually involve women. The Wayans brothers were commended for their work on Scary Movie because of the levity involving their black characters. Many of them were made fun of, ridiculed or died in heinous ways that only another black auteur could do or risk being ridiculed in society and from critics of all colours. John Singleton has taken on that same risk but with a more serious subject matter. And let's face it, if Robert Zemekis or Steven Spielberg or even Quentin Tarantino attempted subject matter like this, they would at best be dismissed as being misinformed and at worst they would be ostracized by both races as being racist. But when a director like John Singleton writes, produces, and directs material like this, we all stand up and listen. He is after all the man that gave us Boyz N The Hood. So if the man has something to say, then we all had better listen. Baby Boy explores the mercurial world of black youth in America. It's very foundation is one that believes that black men are subject to racism but they use that very excuse as one to keep them down. This is a film that tells us that black men may all have it hard but it is up to them to make the right choices and think before they act. We all have problems and we all have to deal with adversity. And there is no panacea to cure all of Pandora's diseases that we all breath in. Dealing with the trials and tribulations of our lives is what makes us adults or what keeps us as the children that we are. Tyrese plays Jody, a 20-year-old mama's boy that still lives with momma even though he has fathered two children and just made his girl have an abortion for another. He has no responsibilities, pays no bills and yet manages to mac his way into many women's lives because of his good looks and smooth charm. But now his mother is growing tired of his act and she has met a new man named Marvin. Marvin is played with utter conviction by Ving Rhames. This is a man that was once just like Jody. He grew up in the hood and did favours for people. When those favours led to murder, he went to jail for 10 years and did hard time. So he knows where Jody is coming from. He can see a lot of himself in Jody and as much as he wants to keep Jody from following the same path he did, he generally keeps his nose out of his business. I think the Marvin character is the most pivotal one in the film. This is a man that has done it all, seen it all and now has chosen to go the straight and narrow. He owns his own landscaping business, he has a girlfriend and he has learned to harness his temper and put things in perspective. He could probably return to his roots and make some easy money but he knows that there are more important things in life. His freedom is one of them. This is the man that Jody should be learning from. This is the man that we should all be learning from. And Rhames nails him perfectly. Rhames has charisma. He has panache and he has something intangible about him. And this role showcases not only his natural acting ability but just how buff he has become since his turn as Marcellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction. Baby Boy covers a plethora of issues that black youth have to deal with and Singleton doesn't paint a pretty picture of the way they handle these issues. There were times when I wanted to laugh at the stupidity of these characters and there were times when I was in so much disgust that I wanted to leave the theater. This is a film that has so many players, so many weak women that can't live without a man, so many couples that figure the best way to solve a problem is to have orgasms, so many gangsters that can't accept their second chance and try to live a better life and so many young people making bad decisions. When there is a thug in your house and he is on parole, here's a piece of advise, call the police. Don't just put up with whatever it is that they tell you to do. So many issues would be solved in this film if everybody wasn't so weak. If people could just learn to stand on their own two feet, then they wouldn't be in some of the predicaments that they are. The black youth portrayed in the film are ripe with temerity, and I applaud John Singleton for painting it that way. I just wonder if this film will help anyone that it speaks to, or if it will just be another film that we all see and then forget about until it comes out on video? I was amazed at how gentle Jody was with Yvette. The stereotype is for someone like him to be abusive, but he only came close when really pushed, and most of us would not be that patient. The writers didn't rely on easy solutions to problems, and people worked things out by making an effort. The nightmares and fantasies got annoying for me, and I believe the actors themselves did not know how the movie would end because all these different scenes were filmed. Still, it was well done overall. This is certainly a film that has much to say. It should be seen by all just for those reasons alone. Oh, and Ving Rhames strutting his proverbial skills is another reason. <div style="width:400px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/ving-rhames-baby-boy-4529191"><img src="http://content9.flixster.com/photo/45/29/19/4529191_gal.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com">Flixster</a> - Share Movies</div></div> This movie revolves around Jody, a young, unemployed, selfish, immature black man who won't leave the nest of his mama's home, even though he has a son and a daughter by two different women. Jody is a mama's boy and when his mom's new ex-con boyfriend moves in the house, Jody becomes very defensive and is continually challenging him. His Mom's previous boyfriend who moved in kicked his older brother out, who subsequently ended up dead on the streets and Jody doesn't want that to happen to him. Jody is a good man and is continually fighting these battles inside himself to do whats right by him and his family but just can't seem to get over the hump. That is until one night, tensions finally boil over between he and Rhames. Rhames has been telling Jody there is nothing Jody has done that he hasn't and more. Rhames tries explaining the way of life to Jody, but he won't have it and Jody takes a swing at Rhames, who in turn lays him out. Jody leaves the house and circumstances lead him to eventually having to kill a man, however when the opportunity arrives he can't do it and only shoots him in the legs. He returns home where Rhames helps him out and a bond is formed between them and after a talk with Rhames realizes he has a good life ahead of him with a great family and he needs to grow up. This is the story of Jody, an unemployed young black man, who's been living with his mother for several years, even though he's got a child of his own. Romantically, he's having relationships with two women: the mother, Yvette of his son, and a new interest.
    Sergio E Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2010
    Surprisingly smart and entertaining story.
    Ed K Super Reviewer

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