Daddy's Little Girls
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2021)
|Daddy's Little Girls|
|Directed by||Tyler Perry|
|Written by||Tyler Perry|
|Edited by||Maysie Hoy|
|Music by||Brian McKnight|
|Box office||$31.6 million|
Daddy's Little Girls is a 2007 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Tyler Perry and produced by Perry and Reuben Cannon. The film stars Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba and was released on February 14, 2007 by Lions Gate Entertainment.
This is one of only four films directed by Perry that he does not appear in (the other three being Acrimony, For Colored Girls and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor) as well as the first of Perry's films to not be based on any of the filmmaker's stage plays.
Monty James is a mechanic who dreams of owning his own shop. He has three daughters: Sierra, Lauryn, and China. The children have been cared for by their elderly maternal grandmother, Kat, with frequent visits from Monty along with financial support. Before her death from lung cancer, Kat asks Monty to take custody of his daughters, since her daughter, their mother and his ex-wife, Jennifer, is both mean spirited and self-serving. Jennifer has little to no interest in the girls having not visited with the girls for several months prior to her mother’s death. She is preferably more involved in the business activity of her live-in boyfriend, Joe, the main drug dealer in the neighborhood. During Kat's funeral, Jennifer disrupts the cemetery service, upset that no one notified her of her mother’s death. Jennifer tries to physically take the girls from Monty demanding that they leave with her and her boyfriend but her aunt steps in and stops her. She leaves but informs Monty that she intends to seek full custody of the girls.
In an effort to earn extra money, Monty accepts a job as a driver for Julia Rossmore, an attorney, at the recommendation of Maya, his next-door neighbor, who works as her assistant. When Monty and Julia meet, she insists they refrain from fraternizing and keeps a strict schedule. Monty has to work later than expected one night after Julia’s friends, Brenda and Cynthia, set Julia up on a blind date with Byron who turns out to be an unemployed aspiring rapper. While driving Julia home, Monty receives a call that his children were involved in a house fire. Without explanation to Julia, Monty immediately heads to the hospital against the protest of an uninformed Julia who fires him.
When Monty arrives at the hospital it is revealed that Sierra accidentally started a fire and that the girls were home alone with no adult supervision. Julia follows Monty into the hospital to demand she be driven home in time to hear the Social Services representative who was notified by the hospital, make the decision based on the circumstances, to grant immediate temporary custody to their mother, setting a date for a custody hearing. Monty drives Julia home and they part ways. Julia hires a replacement driver and Monty returns to work as a mechanic. Meanwhile, the girls face constant abuse and neglect from Joe and Jennifer.
Monty is called to Sierra’s school after she is caught with drugs. Sierra explains to Monty that Joe and Jennifer are forcing her to sell drugs under the threat of hurting Monty if she refused. Jennifer and Joe arrive and are enraged that the school contacted Monty. Joe threatens Monty during a brief altercation in the principal's office. Monty, aware that Joe can afford a high power attorney for the custody hearing goes to Julia for help. Julia knows that he cannot afford to hire the firm and turns him away, interpreting his actions as an attempt to use her to get custody of the girls solely so he can use them to get government assistance. Insulted, Monty leaves after telling Julia to get a life and a man.
Julia goes on another blind date with an attorney who she thinks is perfect for her until his wife and kids expose him. On the day of Monty’s custody hearing, Julia is leaving a different courtroom and overhears Monty’s failing attempt to represent himself. After listening to Monty try to inform the judge that the girls are living with a drug dealer she steps in as his attorney and is able to get the hearing delayed. She agrees to represent him provided that case preparation occur after office hours. Later, while preparing for the hearing, Julia asks Monty if there is anything bad she should know about him so that she is not surprised in court. They are interrupted by a phone call and the question goes unanswered.
Upon discovering it's her birthday, and that Julia has no plans, Monty takes her to the jazz club in his neighborhood where they drink with his friends and dance. Julia kisses Monty and asks him to spend the night. Monty obliges, but a drunken Julia vomiting in the bathroom changes her mind and tells him to go home.
Over the next few weeks, they begin to have strong romantic feelings for each other. Monty invites her to meet his daughters at his apartment during his visitation. She continues to spend time with Monty and his girls and they take a trip to the aquarium. Julia runs into Brenda, who met Monty previously when he was Julia’s driver and figures out that they are now a couple. Brenda pulls Julia to the side and berates Monty, stating that he is beneath her status. Monty overhears Julia’s friend and is hurt. Julia later opens up to Monty and tearfully tells him about her last relationship that ended in betrayal. Monty promises that he won’t betray her and they continue dating. At the child custody hearing, Julia argues that it would be in the children's best interest for Monty to be awarded custody and provided the court with a written statement from Jennifer’s deceased mother stating the same. Jennifer’s lawyer fights back and claims that Monty is not suitable to raise the girls due to a conviction of statutory rape that occurred 16 years prior. Julia is disgusted and feels betrayed, as Monty never told her this information. She refuses to provide him further assistance with his case and leaves.
Monty goes to work and finds Willie, the owner and close friend has been injured in a robbery. The elderly owner is ready to retire and offers to sell the shop to Monty for a $10,000 deposit that can be paid on a payment schedule. Monty accepts his offer. At 3:00 am, Monty's daughters arrive at his house and inform him that Joe has been hitting them, proving it by revealing that China's back is bruised, while Jennifer just watched and did nothing about it. While his daughters are asleep, a livid Monty drives away and crashes into Jennifer and Joe's car, after which he begins brutally beating Joe. A crowd gathers; Joe's thugs arrive and begin to attack Monty. The crowd, having had enough of Joe’s terrorism, defends Monty against them. Julia sees a report on the incident, learning Monty was wrongfully convicted of the rape charges. Upon hearing this, Julia rushes to help Monty.
Jennifer and Joe face drug charges in court, as several kilograms of cocaine and marijuana were found in Joe's car and house; Monty is to be charged with assault. Julia walks in to represent Monty, apologizing for not hearing his side of the story. The witnesses testify against Joe but refuse to testify against Monty, so Jennifer and Joe, along with all of Joe's thugs, are arrested without bail while the case against Monty is dropped. Monty tells Julia that he loves her. Monty's daughters greet him and Julia at the auto shop that now bears his name. Monty and Julia kiss, and the neighbors celebrate Monty's success.
- Gabrielle Union as Julia Rossmore, Monty's lawyer and love interest, who struggles to find a decent boyfriend
- Idris Elba as Monty James, the main protagonist, a loving, hard-working mechanic with three daughters who dreams of owning his own garage
- Louis Gossett, Jr. as Willie, Monty's elderly boss and best friend who sells Monty his garage
- Tasha Smith as Jennifer Jackson, the main antagonist who is Rita's niece Monty's selfish, drug-dealing ex-wife who is bent on getting custody of their three daughters
- Tracee Ellis Ross as Cynthia, Julia's colleague and friend who sets Julia up on blind dates
- Malinda Williams as Maya, Monty's neighbor and Julia's personal assistant
- Terri J. Vaughn as Brenda, Julia's lawyer friend who despises Monty
- Gary Sturgis as Joe, one of the main antagonists, Jennifer's gangster boyfriend and drug dealer who has the town in fear
- Cassi Davis as Rita, Jennifer's aunt and sister of Jennifer's mom, Kat
- Sierra Aylina McClain as Sierra James, Monty's oldest daughter
- Lauryn Alisa McClain as Lauryn James, Monty's middle daughter
- China Anne McClain as China James, Monty's youngest daughter
- Juanita Jennings as Kat Jackson, Jennifer's mom who died in the beginning of the film
- LaVan Davis as Lester
- Brian J. White as Christopher (uncredited)
- Craig Robinson as Byron, a low-classed, loud-mouthed, middle-aged rapper (cameo).
- Bishop Eddie Long as himself
The film opened at #5 on Valentine's Day 2007 behind Ghost Rider, Bridge to Terabithia, Norbit's second weekend, and Music and Lyrics, and has grossed $31,609,243 worldwide, making it Tyler Perry's lowest-grossing film.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 26% based on 54 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Daddy's Little Girls boasts fine performances and a poignant message, but is ultimately let down by amateurish filmmaking." Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Atlantic Records released Music inspired by the film: Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, in stores and online on January 16, 2007. Among the highlights of the album is "Family First," the first-ever recording by the Houston Family -- Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, and Cissy Houston. The song "Can't Let You Go" by Anthony Hamilton is not on the soundtrack. Also, the song "Beautiful" by Meshell Ndegeocello is featured in the movie.
- Anthony Hamilton featuring Jaheim and Musiq Soulchild - "Struggle No More (The Main Event)"
- R. Kelly - "Don't Let Go"
- Tamika Scott of "Xscape" - "Greatest Gift"
- Adrian Hood - "Brown Eyed Blues"
- Whitney Houston, Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick and The Family - "Family First"
- Yolanda Adams - "Step Aside"
- Brian McKnight - "I Believe"
- Beyoncé - "Daddy"
- Anthony Hamilton - "Struggle No More"
- Governor - "Blood, Sweat & Tears"
- Charles "Gator" Moore - "A Change Is Gonna Come"