Christopher Moltisanti must be getting whacked this season on “The Sopranos,” because it’s the only way to explain why the actor who plays him, Michael Imperioli, would bother appearing in “My Baby’s Daddy.”

The movie – sort of an urban remake of “Three Men and a Baby,” only with three men and three babies – wasn’t screened for critics before opening day, which isn’t exactly a surprise during this cinematic wasteland we call January.

The script, attributed to four people (including co-star Eddie Griffin), is a lifeless litany of familiar jokes about dirty diapers, breast milk and its source, burping, and a male’s general ineptitude when presented with an infant.

This is the situation lifelong friends Lonnie (Griffin), Dominic (Imperioli) and G (Anthony Anderson) find themselves in when their girlfriends get pregnant simultaneously.

The three buddies have no idea how to be fathers, having lived for the past eight years in a South Philly bachelor party pad.

But they’re forced to learn quickly – Lonnie’s hoochie-mama girlfriend, Rolanda (Paula Jai Parker), G’s Chinese-stereotype girlfriend, Xi Xi (Bai Ling), and Dominic’s office fling, Nia (Joanna Bacalso), give birth at the exact same time, with Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” scoring their montage of maternity.

Director Cheryl Dunye is all over the place, though, as she takes time to focus on the three men as if they’d never become fathers in the first place.

Lonnie undergoes a fly-eye-for-the-nerdy-guy makeover to impress a woman in his childbirth class. Overweight G trains “Rocky”-style to become a boxer and struggles to impress Xi Xi’s relatives (who have names like Cha-Ching and Bling-Bling). Record producer Dominic tries to impress the music world with his white-boy rap duo, identical twins who talk entirely in “izzle” speak.

There are some jokes here, and any of these situations could have been funny as skits. Taken together, they’re incoherent.

Rapper Method Man provides some amusing moments as G’s ex-con cousin, No Good, simply because he’s so unpredictable. (He robs a baby supply store, for example, with a toy gun in his hand and a blunt tucked behind his ear.)

And Amy Sedaris, who’s always hilarious even in the smallest role, is a brief bright spot as a perky child-birthing teacher – but even her scenes are ruined with all too typical flatulence jokes.

“My Baby’s Daddy,” a Miramax Films release, is rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and some drug references. Running time: 86 minutes. One star out of four.



Motion Picture Association of America rating definitions:

G – General audiences. All ages admitted.

PG – Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

PG-13 – Special parental guidance strongly suggested for children under 13. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.

R – Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

NC-17 – No one under 17 admitted.

AP-ES-01-09-04 1527EST



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