"My Baby's Daddy" is a tedious comedy about how three immature young Philadelphia males, lifelong pals, virtually simultaneously impregnate their girlfriends and how, as a result, they're forced to grow up at last.
It's not the worst premise for humor dashed with a little wisdom, but the script, written by the film's star Eddie Griffin and others, is less than inspired and tends to blur the line between immaturity and just plain stupidity.
Intentionally or otherwise, this Miramax release leaves the impression of having been needlessly dumbed down.
Griffin's Lonnie, Anthony Anderson's G and Michael Imperioli's Dominic have had the good fortune to have a pleasant roof over their heads provided for years by Lonnie's Uncle Virgil (John Amos) in his spacious turn-of-the-last-century home.
They're all basically nice guys, and Lonnie is the most earnest, a city garbage collector who has a second job at a pizzeria. The heavyset G works at a neighborhood market owned by the father of his girlfriend XiXi (Bai Ling) but deludes himself that he's Philly's next Rocky. Dom has a music industry job, seeing himself becoming a major player.
His casual fling with a co-worker (Joanna Bacalso) has left her pregnant. Defying credibility, the shallow neighborhood sexpot (Paula Jai Parker), who would seem to take her fashion tips from Lil' Kim, has actually become pregnant by the nerdy Lonnie.
The guys want to do the right thing by their babies, and their struggles to do so in ways not always as amusing or inspired as intended, comprise the heart of the film. (What it needs is a jolt of the raw vitality and wit of Griffin's concert film "Dysfunktional Family.")
The overly talky script tends to be stronger on characterization than comedy, and the roles ingratiatingly played by Griffin and Anderson do have some depth and dimension.
The film's director, Cheryl Dunye, appears to have had a warm rapport with her large cast but to have been hamstrung by the script's limitations. "My Baby's Daddy" represents more of a step back than forward for the talented Dunye, who raised serious issues of race and sexual orientation with a light, easy touch in her debut feature, "The Watermelon Woman," and whose women's prison drama for HBO, "Stranger Inside," got several awards and nominations.
'My Baby's Daddy'
MPAA rating: PG, for sexual content, language and some drug references.
Times guidelines: Unsuitable for preteens.
Method Man...No GoCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times