'Don't Worry Baby': Film Review

FilmBuff
About as enjoyable as an unwanted pregnancy.

A young man and his father wonder which of them sired a woman's child.

Oh, the charms of the "who's the daddy?" comedy. What's that you say? That dubious plot device got old around the time Steve Guttenberg stopped getting equal billing with Ted Danson and Tom Selleck?! Well, has Julian Branciforte got a twist for you: In his debut, Don't Worry Baby, the two men wondering which of them fathered a young woman's child are a father and son. Laughs do not exactly pour forth from this dreary and frequently insulting picture, whose life in theaters will be about as brief as the liaison that produced the fictional child.

John Magaro enters the pic suffering an aggressive case of the frowns. His character Robert, a struggling photographer whose last show was years ago, manages to live in one of Manhattan's hippest quadrants despite not being able to sell a picture (pricey frame included) for more than a hundred bucks cash. But he's deeply annoyed with his father Harry (Christopher McDonald), a womanizer whose behavior is always forcing Mom (Talia Balsam) to flee town on long pouty vacations in Cabo.

To be fair, you might also be as cartoonishly grumpy as Robert if your roommate (Lenny, an absurdly drawn character Tom Lipinski plays as if he's the movie's secret star) kept a non-stop stream of porn playing in the living room, no matter who else was in the house.

Robert earns his rent by working at Dad's day care business, and one day there's a new student: Mason, a three-year-old whose mother Sara (Dreama Walker) soon realizes she slept with both men about nine months before Mason's birth.

A bizarre kind of bickering competitiveness breaks out between the two men, each of whom bafflingly wants a paternity test to prove he's the father. While awaiting the test results, each has plenty of opportunities to get jealous about time the other spends with Sara.

Is Sara such a bargain? Several times she's out having fun and seems to forget there's a child expecting Mommy to come care for her. Nobody finds this very remarkable. But Mason isn't the only forsaken character here: Not a single woman in the movie seems to have any reason to exist except in relation to the two clods aspiring to be dads. Really, someone should just call Child Protective Services in to take the kid and make this whole paternity question moot.

Distributor: Orion Pictures
Production companies: The Sight Group, Manamarin
Cast: John Magaro, Christopher McDonald, Dreama Walker, Tom Lipinski, Talia Balsam
Director-screenwriter: Julian Branciforte
Producers: Jean-Raphael Ambron, Sam Harper, Thomas Kaier, Brendan McHugh, Nick Shore
Executive producer: Jonathan Sutak
Director of photography: Daniel Katz
Production designer: Meredith Lippincott
Costume designer: Sinclair Tucker
Editor: Matthew Hart
Composer: Charlie Klarsfeld
Casting directors: Lois J. Drabkin, Susan Shopmaker

Not rated, 87 minutes

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