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Film / Baby Boy

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There's this psychiatrist...a lady named Dr. Frances Cress Welsing. She has a theory about the black man in America. She says that because of the system of racism, the black man has been made to think of himself as a baby...a not yet fully formed human being who has not realized his full potential. To support her claim, she offers the following: First...what does a black man call his woman? Momma. Second, what does a black man call his closest acquaintances? His boys. And finally, what does a black man call his place of residence? The crib.
— Opening narration

Baby Boy is a 2001 movie directed by John Singleton as a sort of follow-up to his smash Boyz n the Hood, and while it wasn't as acclaimed, it still received generally positive reviews.

The movie concerns Joseph "Jody" Summers, a young, selfish, immature black man in South Central LA who wants to live large but doesn't have a job. He's got two children by two different women, Yvette and Peanut, and has been living with his mother Juanita for several years. As Jody deals with the increasing pressures of adult responsibility, he also contends with his troubled best friend Sweetpea and new adversary Rodney. And then there's his mother's new live-in boyfriend Melvin, a reformed gangsta who agrees with Juanita that her son should grow up, move out, and move on.

Tupac Shakur's "Hail Mary" plays in one scene and he was set to star in the movie before his murder.



  • Arc Words: Doubles as a Title Drop. Several characters (namely Sweetpea and Melvin) refer to Jody as “baby boy”, a not-too-subtle reference to Jody’s immaturity and refusal to grow up, likening him to a child. He also listens to the song “Just a Baby Boy” by Snoop Dogg, Tyrese, and Mr. Tan while in the car with his son Jojo.
  • Asshole Victim: Rodney.
  • Being Evil Sucks: This is how Sweetpea feels, which is the reason why he chose to get baptized.
  • Bowdlerization: The BET edit of the film is rather infamous for its shoddy and often hilarious attempts at making the film more family-friendly.
    Melvin: I told that lil' punk, don't fool with me, but you wanna fool with a brotha, right? I try to be a good upstandin' brotha, but I can't be, 'cuz lil' brothas like you, wanna mess with me! You wanna fool with a brotha, right? You want a brotha who got two strikes on him, to go to jail for life, my friend!
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  • Coming-of-Age Story: In a way yeah, only the protagonist is over 20 years old.
  • Glass Cannon: The "little gangsters" that jumped Jody earlier start crying once Sweet Pea punches each of them in the jaw later on.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted in the first post-opening credits scene, in which Yvette aborts what would have been her second child with Jody. She's still treated sympathetically, as she's heartbroken during the procedure.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: The Bowdlerized BET edit of the film replaces the cuss words with some.. interesting substitutes.
"Damn that brotha!"
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The whole love triangle is guilty of this. Jody believes that Yvette is replacing him with Rodney now that he's out of jail and in her apartment (uninvited). Yvette is incredibly insecure and paranoid since Jody regularly cheats with other women behind her back, even having a daughter from another relationship, which makes her overanalyze just about anything Jody does or says he's going to do, believing he's banging another girl. Rodney quickly gets bad blood with Jody once he bickers with Jody over the phone, even prior to the events of the movie as he heard that Jody hooked up with Yvette as he was locked up, even having a baby by her.
  • Hollywood, California: Specifically, Watts.
  • Hypocrite: Subverted with Jody. While at about the midpoint of the movie, Jody has stopped cheating, even turning down advances from other women, Jody's reaction towards the implication that Yvette is cheating on him with Rodney is paradoxical considering all of the times Jody has cheated on her.
  • Immodest Orgasm: The sex scenes in this movie are rather... loud.
  • Jerkass: Jody has his moments early on, as does Melvin, but Rodney is a better example as the film's villain figure.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Subverted with Jody, as he sees Jojo in the house with Rodney and his goons, smoking, drinking, and neglecting him, and gets particularly upset with Yvette. However, Rodney forced his way into the apartment, which Yvette repeatedly attempts to stop.
    • Melvin, while sometimes clearly trying to mess with Jody, is entirely justified for wanting Jody to finally grow up, as he is unemployed, doesn't have his own car, has two children, is constantly sleeping around on his girlfriend, and continuously acts condescending towards Melvin for the crime of being his mother's new boyfriend.
    • Rodney also uses a few of these points to humiliate Jody and convince Yvette to leave him.
  • Karma Houdini: Jody and Sweet Pea turn off the power to Yvette's house while Rodney is alone inside and ambush him when he comes out to check it, ultimately gunning him down in the streets. It's implied that Yvette was in on this scheme. None of them are shown facing any repercussions.
  • Kick the Dog: Or more accurately, Kick The Fort. Rodney kicks down his ex-girlfriend's son's pillow fort, to drive home that he is not at all a pleasant guy.
    • Jody kicking Yvette, who came to pick up Jojo, in the pouring rain since he believes she's leaving him for Rodney.
  • Lean and Mean: Rodney. Kinda inevitable, considering he's played by Snoop Dogg.
  • Manchild: Jody is around 20 years old, still lives with his mother, doesn't have his own car (he constantly drives Yvette's car).
  • Momma's Boy: Deconstructed. Juanita and Melvin both want Jody to grow up and stop being selfish. They also want him out of the house. Heck, Jody even gets mocked for living with his mother.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jody and Melvin.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Rodney repeatedly attempts to murder Jody over him hooking up with Yvette in his absence. Thankfully, he ends up being brutally murdered himself by Sweetpea.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Sweetpea gives one of the thugs who robbed Jody at the liquor store one of these...with his belt.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Jody comes to Yvette's apartment to pick up Jojo and sees Rodney and his goons lounging around, who then threaten him as he leaves. Considering this happens not too long after he finds out that Yvette wrote and spoke to Rodney in prison, even asking for money from Jody to fund this, Jody's reaction is pretty justified, but Rodney actually forced his way into the apartment and refuses to leave, especially with his new vendetta against Jody.
  • Oedipus Complex: Melvin suggests that Jody suffers from this, given his evident resentment of Melvin's presence. The film makes it clear that Melvin is mostly right.
  • Old Flame: Rodney is Yvette's ex-boyfriend whom she left for Jody as he was locked up. He still has feelings for her and therefore takes up the initiative to force his way into her apartment once he's out and try to get rid of Jody.
  • Rape as Drama: Late in the film, Rodney attempts to rape Yvette, but only stops when her young son comes into the room.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jody was originally going to be portrayed by Tupac Shakur, who was gunned down before the film moved beyond pre-production. As such, Tupac was posthumously included in the film (via family photos and a large wall painting in Jody's room) as Jody's deceased older brother. Being that he was murdered shortly after Juanita's former boyfriend kicked him out of the house, it serves as major plot device for Jody's unwillingness to move out himself and his antagonism toward Melvin.
  • Real Men Cook: Jody is not pleased to encounter a half-naked Melvin in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for Juanita.
  • Scary Black Man: Juanita's new boyfriend Melvin appears like this to Jody for much of the film. Of course, he is played by Ving Rhames.
    • Rodney is definitely this toward Yvette and her/Jody's son, and to a lesser extent, Jody himself.
  • Shout-Out: Tupac Shakur was originally going to star as Jody, but was infamously murdered before production got underway. The film pays homage to him to referring to him as Jody's older (and murdered) brother and having a huge picture of him hanging up in Jody's room as well as other family photos showing Tupac in this role.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Jody and Jojo listen to the song “Just a Baby Boy” as they ride in the car near the beginning.
    • Melvin and Juanita dance to the song “Just To Keep You Satisfied” by Marvin Gaye, which plays over Jody kicking Yvette off of the porch, as he thinks Rodney opening up shop in Yvette’s house uninvited means she’s leaving him for a “real man”.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Boyz n the Hood.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Juanita had Jody while still a teenager.
  • Wall Bang Her: In an early scene, Melvin does this to Juanita... but quickly ends up changing to "the African Squat Fuck", in which he squat-hops across the room, while he's screwing her.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Jody is known for this. When confronted about this by Yvette, he admits to it but states that he fucks other women and makes love to her. He had stopped cheating at that point but told her he still was since he figured she wasn't going to believe him anyway.


Example of: