Don’t Worry Baby is a new dramedy to be released by FILMBUFF on July 22. The film questions whether being a parent makes you a better person. Harry (Christopher McDonald from Happy Gilmore) and Robert (John Magaro from The Big Short) are a dysfunctional father – son duo. They cannot seem to see eye to eye on anything, to the point, that you, the viewer, wonder if they ever even lived together? They have become such disappoints to each other and themselves that when Sarabeth (Dreama Walker) claims one of them might be the father to her 5 year old Mason, it does not appear like the worst situation.
I’m sure it seems horrifyingly awkward the idea of you and your dad having sex with the same woman and having to figure out, between the two, who is her child’s father. Yet, Don’t Worry Baby, directed by Julian Branciforte, does well to ease that awkwardness by revealing how more intense it is to not get along with your loved one. The weirdness of their situation never supersedes the tension of these two men not liking and not knowing each other but are forced to call each other family. It was cringingly painful to see how low Harry and Robert thought of each other. Hence, their darkened competition to be the father to Mason (played by the adorable Rainn Williams). Each saw the child as a sign of salvation, and proof that they could be better as persons by being good as a parent. As each one tried to get closer to the young girl, they could not help to reveal the thoughts they shared on each other’s decisions and paths in life. As a viewer, you wish you could intervene in these men’s conversations because they cannot seem to be kind or understanding of each other’s humanity. This makes the film feel slightly darker than expected. Still, there are humor moments.
Magaro does well to give Robert a wry, sarcastic humor and his friend Lenny (Tom Lipinski) adds a lightheartedness to keep the comedy end of this film consistent. When they are together, the film gets a bit of breather. They seem like two Millennial pals trying to figure out life, which is relatable on all ends. Yet, the film’s exploration into parenting was its strongest point, particularly in the form of Harry. McDonald perfectly adds layers of sentiment and struggle to a character that would otherwise come off as cold. He could be severely harsh on Robert, but you can see that he wishes to connect to his son and his potential child, Mason. He just does not know better, but by the film’s end becomes open to learning.
The humbling moral, I learned from this film, is that parenting does not make you a better person, but being open to learning as a parent does. Sometimes, as parents, we demand respect and think that wisdom is automatic because we are the guides of our children. Yet, in the same way our children learn from us, we learn from them. To be a good parent/ good person, you can not only worry about how they grow, but you must also care that you do, as well. The lesson was inspiring because, for the first time, I thought to myself that parents do no watch their children grow; they grow with them.