Review: ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ Is Awkwardly Blissful
‘Don’t Worry Baby’ explores a uniquely bizarre love-triangle between a father and son who, after both sleeping with the same woman who now has a child by one of them, come to terms with their life choices as they await the results of a paternity test.
Robert (John Magaro) is a struggling, yet highly-talented, Manhattan photographer who discovers a four-year old one-night-stand with Sara-Beth (Dreama Walker) may have left him the father of a adorable and wide-eyed little girl named Mason (Rainn Williams). Things, however, take a turn for the bizarre when Robert’s philandering father Harry (Christopher McDonald) enters the picture with news that he once again cheated on Robert’s mother, also sleeping with Sara-Beth the same week. Now both son and father bicker and begrudge as they wait to find out who is truly Mason’s father.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, etc.) – 4
As Julian Branciforte feature debut as both writer and director, ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ explores a complex and easily mishandled subject with authenticity and true New York City flair. While the concept of a father and son embroiled in a showdown of paternity seems as though it belongs on daytime television (cough… ‘Maury Povich’), Branchiforte skillfully eases the audience into the surprisingly authentic lives of the vexed characters.
John Magaro steals the show as the darkly sardonic and oddly adorable Robert, as the character adeptly curates the woes of his modern and very unusual family dynamic. While ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ could easily conceptually go astray, Magaro provides enough subtlety and nuance to bring a realism to this floundering young man in pursuit of his self-identity.
Christopher McDonald, who famously played Shooter McGavin opposite Adam Sandler in the golf-comedy ‘Happy Gilmore,’ drops the over-the-top dramatics and brings an equally subtle and authentic character to screen with Harry. From the opening scene McDonald sets the narcissistic tone of the character, while also exposing the loose threads of redemption for Branciforte to use come the film’s climax.
Dreama Walker gave audiences something to ponder with the seductive Sara-Beth, as the viewer slowly unwraps the intentions of the single-mother upon her return to the big city. Walker does well to drop the slapstick comedics of ‘Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23’ and instead give audiences a slow simmer of sexuality and genuine development. While her role as Mason is relegated to being the film’s resident “feels” generator, Rainn Williams kicks the cutie-pie apparatus into maximum overdrive.
The film would not be complete, however, without the acerbic comedic relief interjected by Tom Lipinski’s Lenny. As Magaro’s best friend, roommate, and off-kilter counselor in the film, Lipinski (‘Suits’) offsets the more dramatic moments that weigh on the audience with his pornographic philosophies and herbal colloquies.
Entertainment Value – 3
‘Don’t Worry Baby’ may have a highly-unusual, and to some, perhaps even off-putting subject matter, but it’s really well done. The ensemble of new and veteran talent paint a modern talbot of familial dysfunction at it’s finest, meanwhile endearing audiences in a way that leaves them hardly batting an eye. The visual aesthetic is brilliant and ideally juxtaposes against the complexity of the personal dynamic between the characters as they feel their way through a unusually and trying situation. From start to finish, ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ hooks the audience with it’s authenticity and innovative concept. This unique indie comedy is a high-concept translation of the gushing drama of daytime talk shows, basking in the candor of it’s complex characters.
Re-Watchability – 3
‘Don’t Worry Baby’ is definitely a film to share and re-visit. There are no big action moments, and most of the visual aesthetic is derived from the well-crafted textures pulled from the cultured New York City setting. This is just a good movie that relies upon its actors and raw commentary.
Watch the official trailer for ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ below:
- Entertainment Value
‘Don’t Worry Baby’ is a witty and bittersweet indie comedy packed with talent and authenticity. The movie, while seemingly probing an unsavory subject-matter, forgoes the melodramatics and sentimentality instead focusing on the development of the characters and the layers of their relationships. While the film definitely centers around family, I would say this film falls into more of the intellectual adult film category. I look forward to future projects starring John Magaro and writer/director Julian Branciforte, jointly or independently.
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