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Baby Boy (2001)

Cast: Roy Anderson, Roy Anderson, Tyrese Gibson, more...
Director: John Singleton, John Singleton
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama, Coming of Age
Running Time: 130 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Thai
    see additional details...

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, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

"Why don't you surprise me and leave the nest?" by Lastcrackerjack April 12, 2006 - 6:56 PM PDT
If John Singleton's debut film "Boyz N The Hood" generated too much word of mouth in 1991 - he was nominated for a best director Oscar at age 22 - his return to South Central L.A. 10 years later generated far too little. Part coming of age drama, part relationship comedy, part sociological urban study, the movie bites off more than it can really chew, but is terrific work.

"Baby Boy" is well written, well directed and well cast, the second best film on Singleton's filmography. What keeps it from being as great as "Boyz N The Hood" is the street warfare, which seems ordered in from another movie. There's also an entire subplot involving Jody's friend (Omar Gooding) that feels undernourished, as if Singleton knew the boys in the hood genre had run its course in the '90s.

When it comes to the domestic scenes, the film is vibrant and strong. Taraji Henson manages both a strength and vulnerability in her role that is particularly memorable. R&B performer Tyrese Gibson holds his own with her, playing hapless indignation and confusion really well, and the pair make a good couple. Ving Rhames is a steam locomotive as always.

The movie generated somewhat of a backlash in its portrayal of shiftless black men too lazy or too confused to get a life. Singleton didn't pander here or try to make a palatable blockbuster, but instead goes for honesty. Jody and his girlfriend Yvette are a young couple who run hot and cold, loving and hating each other, and make big mistakes. This dynamic is portrayed by Singleton with a lot of power and complexity.

The musical score by David Arnold - who began his career scoring sci-fi flicks like "Stargate" - has a strong rhythm & blues flavor and really stands out. Singleton peppers the soundtrack with the old school sounds of Kool & The Gang, Marvin Gaye, Bootsy Collins and GQ to memorable effect.

Interesting, even without a plot by pelikan September 30, 2002 - 2:29 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I'm not sure if this movie had a plot and I missed it or if it just didn't have a plot (or a point). It didn't even seem to flow, with certain events sticking out as just 'odd'. With the exception of a few, all the actors were mis-cast. Yet somehow, the movie kept me glued to the end, even in my over-exposure to bad dvds.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.90)
20 Votes
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2001: Jonathan Rosenbaum's recommendations
Top 2001 Movies from Jonathan Rosenbaum's article in Chicago Reader. I compiled these lists with the aim of one daying viewing them all. The comments below, if any are mine.

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