As I took that long, dark drive home from the multiplex after watching My Baby's Daddy, all I thought about was Raging Bull. Well, actually one scene, after boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) has had the crap beaten out of him by Sugar Ray Robinson. As LaMotta, bruised and bleeding, exits the ring, he shouts to Robinson, "You didn't get me down, Ray!"
No quote better captures the excruciating experience of watching, or rather surviving, My Baby's Daddy. It's stupid and pointless. It's vulgar and crass without being remotely funny. It's racist and creepy, with a streak of sentimentality that's as genuine as a con man's handshake. It's full of more clichés than TV Land's primetime lineup. Writing a review is almost pointless, because anything I write will sound like a warning screamed from the rooftop.
This Miramax(!) comedy stars Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson, and Michael Imperioli as three lifelong buds from Philadelphia. They seem to have a blessed life, they're single, living free and throwing the best house parties around. However, their lives get turned upside down when their paramours announce that they're pregnant. The guys have to struggle with this new development and learn to become adults.
Of course, plenty of comedy has to ensure. Or, I'm sure that's what the four screenwriters, including Griffin, intended. That's right, four writers give us lame white rappers, elderly Chinese folks spouting hip hop lingo, flatulence aplenty, babies peeing, babies talking like a Teddy Pendergrass song, poor John Amos acting grumpy, five-year-olds acting like pimps, Eddie Griffin acting like a '70s pimp, Tiny Lister doing a lame Suge Knight routine, supposedly funny Chinese names (Bling-Bling, for example) and a birthing scene set to the rap classic "Push It."
All of this is hurled at the hapless audience, with the characters serving as soulless instruments to deliver the "jokes." Important characters, like the guys' girlfriends, float in and out when needed to drum up laughs or to have the guys prove they have a soft spot. There's no sense of this being a complete movie, but rather a bunch of extended, painful setups to try to deliver laughs and knowing smiles that never arrive. This is not only lazy writing and directing, but it's just plain patronizing to the audience.
People always complain that movie reviewers don't know how to "enjoy" a movie. But, as my colleague Jeremiah Kipp recently wrote, "It takes a brain to be entertained! You're actively involved when you laugh." Watch My Baby's Daddy and you'll see that no one bothers to engage the audience at that level. The result is no more engaging or provoking than watching a blank screen, which I recommend over paying money to see this.
Deleted scenes and outtakes enhance the film's DVD.