Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 26
  2. Negative: 3 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    An easy movie to pick apart, but it lives, breathes and switches moods from humor to despair better than any American release this year.
  2. 88
    Now Singleton, too, dares to take a hard look at his community. His characters are a little older, and he is older, too, and less forgiving.
  3. Jody's story is told with so much heart -- and his character is acted with such a winning combination of playfulness, vulnerability and sexual dynamism by Mr. Gibson -- that you can forgive the occasionally incoherent storytelling, the overwrought moments and the haphazard, unconvincing excursions into dream and fantasy.
  4. 80
    Lacks the cumulative impact of "Boyz," since Singleton allows repetition and sermonizing to dull his theme about the infantilization of black males. But Baby Boy leaves you shaken.
  5. 75
    Raunchy, provocative and often very funny.
  6. 75
    Sometimes gets repetitive and is slightly overlong. But it's got solid performances.
  7. What holds the movie together, however, is Gibson's broodingly responsive performance.
  8. Kicks off the Oedipus theme that gallops through the story.
  9. A movie that will act like a smack in the face to some audiences, while others may simply laugh in recognition.
  10. It's a feel-good movie that happens to have a lot of feel-bad in it. The gratuitous violence sucks, and the pat conclusion prompts one to shout don't believe the hope!.
  11. The characters are so full-bodied and the feelings so raw and complex that I'd call this the best thing he's (Singleton) done to date.
  12. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Rambling and conflicted as it is, it's one of the most entertaining African-American comedies of manners ever made.
  13. At once too neat and too messy, but films like this are too rare to leave it at that. Ragged but ambitious, it retains a core of genuine emotion -- this picture is doing the best it can, and although that may not be everything, it ought to count for something.
  14. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Superbly acted by everyone involved (Rhames does his best work since "Pulp Fiction"), the film is really more about character than plot, though frankly, at more than two hours, it could have used a bit more of the latter.
  15. 58
    Singleton just may be challenging us to laugh at the film or with it and then feel extremely uneasy for doing so. If so, that's admirable; if not, he's made a very strange soap opera.
  16. It's more ambitious and passionate than thoughtful. Singleton is better at criticizing than understanding, and he leaves too many characters lacking a legitimate voice.
  17. It would have been enough that Singleton raise these difficult questions without trying to wrap them up, too, in the last five minutes.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Can be taken to task for its overt point-making, lackluster style and some late-on dramatic contrivances seemingly dragged in to provide a little violence.
  19. You may or may not like what you see, but there it is, indisputably, right in your face.
  20. Despite the audience pandering -- not just in its violence, but in its wall-to-wall sexual vulgarity -- there are terrific elements in Baby Boy.
  21. Singleton's words are no fitting match for his visuals, and his metaphors are so heavy-handed -- they undermine the smart subtlety of the direction.
  22. The movie makes an over-long deal about Jody's immaturity and never seems to get beyond it.
  23. 40
    Pretty much a mess, but it also has a couple of long stretches that are extremely daring in that they reveal black family dynamics we've never seen on screen before.
  24. 38
    A mistaken message is a price a filmmaker pays when he tries to load weighty themes like the cycle of violence on an overgrown boy who scoots around on a bicycle.
  25. 30
    Singleton has neither the emotional nor intellectual depth to do justice to his thesis. He is too in awe of the stereotypical hood lifestyles and macho posturings that he's trying to critique.
  26. 20
    A preachy, monotonous failure hyped as a follow-up to his incendiary 1991 debut, "Boyz N the Hood."
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Jan 26, 2012
    I enjoyed this movie, it is a decent urban drama. At times it can be tedious and repetitive, and it fails to stand up to its own potential,I enjoyed this movie, it is a decent urban drama. At times it can be tedious and repetitive, and it fails to stand up to its own potential, but its saved by solid acting and a realistic structure. Full Review »