3 May 2001 | Niceguy
Take two not-so-bright felons, throw in a baby, and bring on the funny!
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.