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Nobody's Baby is a genuine sleeper!
I rented this having never heard of the film and going solely with my gut that Oldman would not disappoint. He doesn't. He turns in one of his most original and unexpected performances in this small but hilarious film. Knowing I'd be watching it again, I went out and found a new copy for $5!!!
A huge surprise came in the performance of Billy by Skeet Ulrich. Taking a fairly bland character and making him come alive, with the added job of having to play straight man to Oldman's over-the-top Buford, could not have been easy. Ulrich shows his acting chops and creates an instantly likeable goon. You find yourself immediately routing for the not-too-bright little bumpkin. When one realizes that he's the smarter of these pair of life-long friends and minor criminals there's little wonder that they've spent half their lives in jail. (One touching "tell" is when, along with the baby of the title Billy is asked to take have a picture snapped he automatically turns for a standard profile mug shot. Nice touches like abound throughout the film.)
A veritable smorgasbord of an ensemble is featured in the trailerpark misfits who adopt Billy and his new baby; Radha Mitchell; Mary Steenburgen, Gordon Tootoosis, Anna Gunn and the resident bad guy, Peter Green. Even two small but very important roles are filled by no less than Ed O'Neil and Matthew Modine!
Ulrich's Billy cements the entire film narrating as a series of letters to his precious "Little One" relating the tale of how she one day came into his life and changed his world and saved him.
While this is for the most part a gentle comedy, it is punctuated with a little violence, brief nudity and some truly black comedy (such as how Billy gets his new baby) which has evidently disturbed some viewers of the film. (Personally I found these dark moments hilarious.) Ultimately a very heartwarming and uplifting picture. I ended up buying the thing. Oh, yeah: stick around for the credits and watch Mary Steenburgen and Gary Oldman do a little line dancin' together . . . it's a hoot!
Caught this on cable last night and loved it - how can you not love a film that has (a nearly-unrecognizable) Gary Oldman playing Buford Dill, yer basic sadsack Southern petty criminal with a rectal problem which causes him to go through a lot of Chapstick? (This must be seen to be appreciated.) One of the funniest and endearing characterizations of his brilliant career. And Skeet Ulrich, who rescues and slowly becomes irreparably attached to the baby of the title, is thoroughly believable as well. If you watch it, make sure you stay through the end titles, which feature Oldman and Mary Steenburgen line-dancing. (PS: The baby is adorable too.)
NOBODY'S BABY is somewhat an enigma of a production. The story begins
Billy (Skeet Ulrich) rescuing a baby from an automobile crash. The fate
the other occupants of said wreck does not leave one in a light-hearted
mood. That is the main problem with this movie, it never finds the right
tone for the material. The film goes from slap-stick hijinx to intense
violence so quickly, it left me feeling uncomfortable.
The character of Vern (Peter Greene) is so flat and sadistic, that he
to be in another film altogether (Greene did play Zed in PULP FICTION);
never seems to connect with what is happening in the rest of the film.
narrative conflicts in NOBODY'S BABY are fairly contrived and
never really becoming plausible situations.
I'll be honest with you, I rented this film only because Gary Oldman was in it. The fact that it went straight to video in Chicago, seemed odd to me; I mean Gary Oldman is in it right? Upon viewing NOBODY'S BABY, I began to understand why this was not given a theatrical release. Anyway, fans of Gary Oldman will not be disappointed. He crafts a grizzled and hickish buffoon, complete with ten-gallon hat and mutton-chop side whiskers. Here is a British actor who can do a New York accent better than most American performers, and, true to form, completes Buford with an over-the-top drawl direct from the Appalachian Mountains. His scenery-chewing is extremely fun to watch, and one might guess he took this role due to that opportunity. Stick around until the end to see Oldman and Mary Steenburgen line dancing (!), that's right...line dancing. Gary Oldman is, and remains, the best actor working today (also quite a good director, see NIL BY MOUTH), and manages to rise above the material of NOBODY'S BABY.
Overall, this is an uneven film (albeit with some humorous moments), but without the presence of Gary Oldman, it would have fallen into complete obscurity by now. 3/10
At first I was thrown for a loop. Was this the Gary Oldman I had grown to love watching "A State of Grace" or "Leon the Professional" NOPE! It was that other side, the side we rarely see of this gifted actor. Add to that Skeet Ulrich and the two make a good..yes...comedic team. It wasn't a "Dumb" as Dumber and Dumber" but it had some of that "dumbness" to it! The premise here has been seen before, a little baby cared for by hapless guys who have their hands full! But the twists we get with Oldman and Ulrich not to mention great characters portrayed by class actors and actresses here makes the film a sure thing. Now it took me the first 30 minutes to get a feel for this movie but it gets going. I just wasn't sure how to take the Oldman and Ulrich characters...but it finally flowed for me and was well worth the watch.
It was a real surprise to discover this film, that obviously went to
video before it could have a theatrical release, or so it seems. David
Seltzer's film deserved much better fate because it is a comedy with
its heart in the right place.
How did this director/screen writer assemble this cast? The first thing that amazes is a Gary Oldman as we haven't seen him before. In fact, it takes a while to realize he is Buford! This actor is a chameleon as he shows in picture after picture. Buford depends on ChapSticks to relieve jean burns and never hesitates to borrow a tube from anyone at all!
The film shows the bond between Buford, the older convict, and Billy Raedeen, who met as children in an orphanage. Their friendship is something real, no matter where they might go, they'll be there for one another.
Skeet Ulrich's Billy was a role he was meant to play. Mr. Ulrich knows this guy and he gets a reprieve to make something out of his life when, by chance, he finds a baby in an automobile wreckage. This little baby will change his destiny, as Billy finds an extended family in the Nevada desert among misfits that welcome him into their little community.
Gary Oldman has one of the best moments of his career as Buford, the man who seems to be in permanent fog. He runs away with his role in a splashy performance. We get at the end a display of Mr. Oldman and Mary Steenburgen line dancing where both shine as gracious partners.
Radha Mitchell, Mary Steenburgen, Gordon Tootoosis, Anna Gunn, and the rest, make a great contribution to the film, under the tight direction of David Seltzer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two not so bright small time crooks end up with a baby girl by "accident" and find a change in their lives. Billy (Ulrich) becomes the guy to take care of the child and look after it. Buford (Oldman) wants to get rid of it, but the others they knit with are for doing the best they can. They conspire to rob a pawn shop to get the necessary money, only to end up heroes for stopping a heist already in play. At one point Billy starts to let the baby be adopted, but takes only 60 seconds to change his mind. And money appears when needed the most. The cast was great, Gordon Tootoosis, Anna Gunn, Peter Green and Mary Steenbrgen. In the end Billy is the father he wanted to be with the expectation he will marry Shauna Louise (Radha Mitchell) when she gets out of prison (You'll have to see the movie to find out why she's there). This would of been great family entertainment, but for the nudity and foul language, which, in my opinion added nothing but an "R" rating. Worth the time to watch and enjoy the humor. 7/10
Every once in awhile a film greatly exceeds your expectations. Such a film is "Nobody's Baby". Like "Fargo" it is very re-watchable, holds your interest throughout, offers plot twists, and genuine believable feelings from the wonderful cast. It is funny, with some shocking violence, and gratuitous nudity thrown in. There is also a philosophical side to the movie about doing what's right, even though you personally will suffer. I highly recommend "Nobody's Baby" to those who enjoy edgy films like "Clay Pigeons", "Red Rock West", "The Killing Time", "A Simple Plan", "Dumber Than Dirt", Breakdown", "Buffalo 66". - MERK
We happened to catch this recently while staying in a hotel, and as we'd never heard of it, we weren't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised, though, as this turned out to be a very enjoyable (and very funny) movie. Gary Oldman (as a goofy nerd that you want to dislike but simply can't) was amazing... we were halfway through the movie before we recognized him. Skeet Ulrich and Mary Steenburgen were also great... gosh, everyone was. We loved it. And we'll never think of Chapstick the same way again... We definitely recommend this for rental. And seems to be okay for older children, too, although I don't recall its rating. No sex, no major violence... only some pretty harmless (compared to a lot of PG13 movies) mischief.
The film was screened last night at the USA FILM FESTIVAL here in Dallas, TX. Gary Oldman attended the screening, which followed a clip compilation tribute to the great actor. Oldman commented before the film started that he chose to be in it because he was tired of playing villains, and he wanted to do a comedy. NOBODY'S BABY is a comedy, albeit a somewhat disjointed comedy. The film opens by introducing the two main characters to us, Buford Dill played by Oldman, and Billy Raedeen played by Ulrich. We learn that Billy has been in Buford's care since they were kids in an orphanage. Evidently they have lived their lives in and out of jail, and seem very comfortable as long as they're together. When a frustrated judge decides to separate them for their next sentence, they stage a getaway during which Billy is separated from Buford anyway. During his hitching attempts Billy "acquires" a baby. I'll leave it at that so as not to spoil anything. The baby immediately proves to be a challenge causing our hero to seek help in the form of a coffee shop waitress played by Radha Mitchell, who some of you may remember as PITCH BLACK's heroine. She takes Billy to her trailer park in hopes that her friends can provide some assistance as well. Mary Steenburgen gives an unexpected but impressive performance as a bitter woman who recently gave up her own baby using the justification that she had nothing to offer it. At this point the film is now filled with an eclectic group of characters, including the token bad guy played by Peter Greene. Billy gets in touch with Buford, who rushes to the scene thinking the two of them can surely somehow profit from the baby. Things have changed however, as Billy has now grown fond of the little bundle of joy. As if his hands aren't full enough, he also finds himself developing a strong attachment to his coffee shop sweetheart, who belongs to the aforementioned trailer park bully. NOBODY'S BABY shows some obvious similarities to RAISING ARIZONA, but tries to be a bit more serious in parts. That seriousness causes the pacing of the film to seem off. We as the audience quickly miss the comedic moments, and wonder why the film is making such big emotional efforts. Ulrich is fairly good in his performance as the well-meaning Billy. Oldman really gets to ham it up as Buford, the line-dancing butt scratching dumb guy who Billy looks up to, for whatever reason. He plays the comic relief, and plays it to the hilt, and as usual does a terrific job convincing the audience that he's exactly what the character is supposed to be. In the moments when Buford is not in the scene, you'll miss him, and hope that he re-appears soon. This is a fun little film with a strong cast. There's nothing here you haven't seen before, but what is here plays out well. I personally hope this film finds a distributor, as I feel it could please many movie fans during a time where there is so much fluff.
This movie premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and was a big hit with audiences. The cast was perfect and the title fit the storyline. I heard several women who enjoyed the movie so much, shhhh! Ladies Room Talk! The baby girl is so precious and cute too! This movie will give all of your emotions a good run! The plot really does touch me and the acting was superb! I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did!
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