June 2001
Baby Boy

by Wilson Morales (New York)

Baby Boy

Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Director: John Singleton
Screenwriter: John Singleton
Cinematographer: Charles Mills
Composer: David Arnold
Cast: Tyrese Gibson, Omar Gooding, A.J Johnson, Taraji Henson, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tamara LeSeon Bass, and Ving Rhames

In a utopian society, everything is perfect. Nothing can go wrong. But in the real world, there’s a pandora’s box of problems. Some of those problems include violence and morality. Some people just don’t know how to do things the right way. No one is perfect. Everyone has a flaw in their character. The question is can we find a way to better ourselves? This plays out in John Singleton’s latest film, “Baby Boy”, the culmination of a trilogy following “Boys in the Hood” and “Poetic Justice”.

Jodie (Tyrese) is a 20 year old unemployed slacker who lives with his 36 year old mother Juanita (A.J Johnson) in South Central. He is also the father of two boys by two different women, Peanut (Tamara Bass) and Yvette (Taraji P. Henson). When his mother brings home Melvin (Ving Rhames), her new boyfriend, Jodie’s life is turned upside down. Not only does Jodie have to compete for his mother’s affection, he has to juggle the two women who want him each for themselves. All this drama takes its toll as Jodie struggles to grow up and take responsibility for his past actions.

What makes this story so gripping and compelling is that Singleton films a slice of reality rarely dealt with in film. For every player out there who has numerous kids, but still lives at home, this film serves as a wake up call. When forced to take responsibility, Singleton has Jodie go thru several layers that some people can associate themselves with. Singleton also shows a woman’s point of view in loving a man who doesn’t have his priorities together. In his motion picture debut, singer turned model turned actor Tyrese does a credible job as the flawed baby boy. 

AJ Johnson is great as the young mother coping with her son’s immaturity as she herself tries to get her life situated. Henson is also good as the single mother who copes with Jodie’s immaturity. For some people theirs is no perfect way to resolve unhealthy situations. You do the best you can with what you know. It may not be the right way, but it’s a good way.


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