Jody is a twenty-year-old African American who has fathered two daughters by two different women yet still lives at home with his mother, Juanita. He can't seem to find a direction for his chaotic life, and to make matters worse, his best friend and partner-in-crime Sweetpea has just been released from prison. In the meantime, Juanita has finally started to live her own life again and is dating Melvin, a former gangster. Jaunita is starting to enjoy the simple things in life like her mantras and her garden. She can barely wait for Jody to grow up and take responsibility for his own life and children. Once Melvin moves in, there is little room in the nest for a kid who has overstayed his welcome and who must now cross the line that separates the boy from the man.
John Singleton returns to South Central Los Angeles, the setting of his first film, "Boyz N the Hood," and once again explores the difficult coming of age of a young African-American man. Played with charm and dynamism by Tyrese Gibson, Jody is a 20-year-old father of two children (by two different women) whose decent instincts are at war with his narcissism and immaturity. The storytelling is sometimes sloppy, and the movie occasionally slips into melodramatic excess, but Mr. Singleton has a sure grasp of his characters, and a serious point to make about the qualities that separate men from boys. The dialogue has the pungency and wit of the best hip-hop, and the acting is superb. - A. O. Scott
2001-06-27 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Baby Boy