Fatherhood (‘fä-[th]&r-hud; noun): The process by which virile but otherwise immature men mature into, well, men. At least that’s how it works in My Baby’s Daddy.
You won’t find that definition in Webster’s. But it certainly applies to these three protagonists. Lonnie, G and Dominic have been chums ever since they were babies. Not only has their friendship stayed just as strong as it was when they were gumming teething rings, but they’ve held on to the same passions they had when they were kids. Lonnie loves inventing; G yearns to be a world-class boxer; Dominic likes nothing more than to have his ear tickled with a good tune. Yet as the years pass, the three don’t advance much past the massive hormonal influx of puberty. Not only are they still pursuing those dreams to the neglect of almost everything else, they’re playing fast and loose with the ladies as well. You can guess what happens: They all end up with tiny, smelly, squirming, screaming bundles of joy. But what’s a daddy to do when he’s scarcely more mature than his brand-new baby?
Lonnie becomes the model for responsible masculinity in the film. He genuinely desires to have a healthy, intact family. He wants to provide for his greedy, money-grubbing girlfriend (working multiple jobs to do so) and professes his desire to marry her. He dreams about being out on his own with the requisite suburban house that has a white picket fence and a puppy frolicking in the yard. He studies parenting books, subscribes to parenting magazines and attends parenting classes, despite the fact that his squeeze and his friends don’t seem to be terribly interested in raising their kids well. “Man, these kids depend on us,” he reminds his chums at one point. “This is our chance to be fathers. … Are you in?” More good counsel comes from the father of G’s girlfriend, who says that he abandoned his thug lifestyle in order to provide for his family. When asked if he had any regrets, he responds, “That I didn’t do it sooner.” [Spoiler Warning] G, eventually coming the conclusion that he needs to act like a man, proposes to his girl.
When G notices that Dominic and Lonnie’s children are suspiciously absent, he asks, “Who’s watching your babies?” Lonnie replies, “Jesus.”
Penis jokes. Oral sex gags. Quips about orgasms and sexual positions. My Baby’s Daddy is more fixated on the process of making children than it is on raising them. Other jokes center on pregnant intercourse, erections, breastfeeding, sexy underwear, foreplay, threesomes and masturbation. In an animated sequence, a dog attaches itself to Lonnie’s leg. The camera fixates on a woman’s tightly clothed rump. A tawdry lass obsesses about her strip aerobics classes. During the course of the movie, Dominic tries to bed two shapely beauties and succeeds with one of them. The guys keep a condom dispenser in their house. A gag about pornography features what initially sounds like orgasmic groaning (it’s actually a woman in labor). Pictures of barely clothed women adorn the walls of a man’s room. Skimpy attire is de rigueur for most of the film’s females. Tiny tube tops. Plunging necklines. Revealing lingerie.
Dominic’s relationship with his gal deserves a paragraph of it’s own. At one point he learns she has become a lesbian, and that she and her partner plan to raise his child without him. After the women passionately kiss, Dominic angrily asks if they think they can adequately raise a child. The answer? Of course. His kid “needs two parents,” and Dominic is too obsessed with his career as a music producer/manager to pay attention to his offspring. He eventually realizes he needs to be involved in his child’s life—but only after conceding the legitimacy of homosexual parenting.
Lonnie gets kicked in the shins by a youngster. During an impromptu round of “slap boxing,” Lonnie knocks G cold. G also gets decked during boxing practice and later by his girlfriend. A recording mogul with “anger management problems” pulls a gun during contract negotiations. G’s ex-con cousin (appropriately nicknamed No Good) robs a child-care store with a fake gun. Lonnie slugs a menacing thug.
The f-word appears twice on a legal contract, but isn’t voiced. There are about 20 uses of the s-word, and over 65 other profanities and crudities. About half-a-dozen additional profanities crop up in a hip-hop song. God’s and Jesus’ names are abused. A Chinese man’s name sounds suspiciously like an obscenity. Crude terms for male and female sex organs crop up, along with a handful of racial slurs.
Numerous characters smoke. Alcohol is ubiquitous. While in labor, a woman downs hard liquor straight from the bottle. Lonnie spills a drink on a crush, which prompts him to comment about her disrobing. No Good puffs on a blunt. G bonds with his girlfriend’s father over pot and a 40.
It’s hinted that G and No Good were once partners in crime. Several jokes center around flatulence, breaking water, hemorrhoids, tampons and babies’ bodily functions (in addition to numerous diaper references, G’s child urinates in his face). At one of Lonnie’s parenting classes, a teacher goes into great detail about defecation. While not objectionable per se, a rather graphic birthing shot glimpses a baby crowning.
I wish I could say that My Baby’s Daddy has a good heart. In certain moments the film certainly seems to be trying. It urges men to be involved with their families. It lauds marriage (at times). And it celebrates fatherhood—quite a feat in a hip-hop world that tells women to “do them boys like they used to do you/If you pimp him I congratulate you … Don’t depend on no man to give you what you want.”
On the way to those wholesome sentiments, though, audiences will run smack into ribald sexual jesting, constantly crude language and a hefty dose of homosexual propaganda. In the end, male virtue isn’t at the core of Daddy. It’s merely its slightly saccharine coating. After all, truly good fathers don’t spew profanities, indulge in substance abuse and concede their place to mommy’s “special friend.”