Review Date: January 25, 2001
Director: John Singleton
Writer: John Singleton
Producers: John Singleton
Taraji P. Henson
But that's not even half the story. You see, the film is damn funny, too...and I mean, damn funny! I was crackin' up at almost every other scene, and they weren't "set-up jokes" like your typical comedies either, just day-to-day things that we could all relate to (like the scene in which Ving Rhames is "drinking Koolaid" in the kitchen and his infamously improvised "African Squat F**k" scene, which you just gotta see to believe!) And there are the performances, too. Ving Rhames, now here's a man who has already established an early lead in the race for best supporting actor at the end of this year. Damn dude, you scared the shit outta me! Tyrese Gibson, I have no idea where this guy came from (an R&B singer and MTV VJ, you say...hmmmm?), but other than his uncanny resemblance to Taye Diggs, he nailed this part to the tee. From scene one on, I was glued to his performance and sympathized with his character as he molded and shaped himself into the person that he hoped to become one day. And everyone else, too. Gibson's girlfriend in the film, Taraji Henson, made me a backer with her many subtle touches, all of which helped raise her character several levels above the "typical" bitchie girlfriend that we've seen in many of these relationship movies.
But that's the thing that I liked the most about this movie. Everyone seemed real, the situations felt authentic, the characters all came across as people like you and me with issues and struggles and hopes and fears. I liked this movie a lot because it was masterfully written, wonderfully acted and genuinely entertaining to watch. And yeah, I even liked the whole homage to BOYZ 'N THE HOOD that Singleton pulled off in the end (he called this movie a "companion piece" to that film). A very solid follow-up to an ever greater original, BABY BOY is a film to be seen by anyone who feels like they never wanna grow up.
Note: The guy who plays Jody's best friend in this movie is Omar Gooding, Cuba Gooding Jr.'s younger brother (Cuba starred in 1991's BOYZ 'N THE HOOD).