Absurd coincidences don't help bad 'Daddy'

Game PlayingMusic IndustryTed DansonJim CarreySteve GuttenbergAmy SedarisMichael Imperioli

"My Baby's Daddy" is a story of extraordinary coincidence.

Maybe it's not so absurd for three inseparable childhood friends — Lonnie, G and Dominic — to live together as adults. And perhaps it's not that unheard of for each of the three to get a woman pregnant on the same night. And if you can swallow that happenstance, then of course it follows that each woman would deliver on the same day (labor pains timed to the beat of Salt 'N Pepa's "Push It," no less), that Lonnie, G and Dominic would always get stuck baby-sitting on the same night and struggle with fatherhood in much the same way.

With this feat-of-good-timing track record, it's safe to assume that the movie ends with the trio either nabbed together in a major deadbeat dad bust or transformed into the Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg of the 21st Century. And since "Daddy" is so bad and I don't want any of you to see it just to learn the ending, what the hell: It's the latter.

Eddie Griffin co-wrote this gem, and plays Lonnie, a struggling inventor with compassion but no game. His buddies Dominic ("The Sopranos'" Michael Imperioli), a struggling music producer with game but no joy, and G (Anthony Anderson), a struggling boxer with joy but no discipline, live with him in his uncle's house in Philadelphia, like three frat boys at an underfunded commuter school.

After a number of enlightening incidents — G gets some in the face while changing his baby's diaper, Dominic learns that his daughter's mother is starting a family with her midwife, Lonnie gets a makeover, they all misplace their kids (at the same time, of course) — the men start raking leaves and replace their condom dispenser with one of the diaper variety. In other words, they grow up.

In the thick of all this originality, there are a few promising performances. The perennially peppy Amy Sedaris is funny as a birthing coach. Wu-Tang Clan breakout rapper Method Man plays G's no-good cousin, No Good, with thug panache. But most noteworthy is Anderson, who was one of Jim Carrey's black sons in "Me, Myself and Irene." With a stale script, an avalanche of cliches and weak performances all around, he still manages to charm. Anderson's heft might ease him into the teddy bear role, but waist size alone cannot make a character lovable.

January is a notoriously difficult month for movie fans. In a show of Hollywood brainpower, the studios unleash their Oscar contenders and blockbusters in December, the season of forgiveness and love, and then unload the dreck just as we're trying to diet and cut back on the bottle.

So perhaps there is one bit of timing in "My Baby's Daddy" that makes sense: its release date.

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