Daddy’s Little Girls tells the story of a hard-working, good-natured guy named Monty (Idris Elba) who has 3 daughters China (China McClain), Lauryn (Lauryn McClain) and Sierra (Sierra McClain). Monty, a mechanic at Willie’s Auto Shop, is good at his job and well-respected by the local community. Monty also has dreams of owning his own mechanic shop someday but those dreams are challenged by Monty’s ex-girlfriend, Jennifer (Tasha Smith), the mother of his daughters.
Monty’s daughters have been lovingly cared for by their maternal grandmother for many years. On one occasion, Monty goes to visit his daughters and finds they are happy to see him and doing well. Unfortunately, Monty also receives bad news. It turns out the grandmother is quite ill (she has been battling lung cancer secretly). Grandmother confides to Monty that he must now accept full responsibility for his daughters. Grandmother tells Monty, she’s been ill and the only thing which has kept her going is the children. Grandmother knows Monty is a good man and her own daughter, Jennifer, has serious problems. It turns out Monty’s ex , Jennifer, has taken up with the local drug lord Joe (Gary Anthony Sturgis). Grandmother doesn’t want her grandchildren around Joe so she filed for custody in Family Court. Now that grandmother is dying, she would rather see custody awarded to Monty instead of her own daughter, Jennifer.
Within a few weeks grandmother dies and the entire neighborhood turns out to pay their respects. As the funeral service is ending, Jennifer arrives in an SUV with Joe. Jennifer disrupts the tranquility of the service by physically attacking Monty. Jennifer (who never wanted her daughters because her daughters prevented her from running the streets and having a good time) screams at her daughters and tells them to come with her. Monty pushes Jennifer away and tells Jennifer the children will stay with him. The drug lord (who is always surrounded by his own posse of thugs) threatens Monty saying he doesn’t like seeing his girlfriend upset. Jennifer tells Monty he wins this round (the girls can stay with him) but she’ll see him in court.
Strapped for cash and hoping to make his dream come true of owning the mechanic shop, Monty accepts help from Maya (Malinda Williams) a good friend. Maya knows Monty wants to make extra money so she recommends Monty as a driver for Julia, a high-powered Atlanta attorney. Julia is good at her job but has no personal life. Consequently, Julia’s girlfriends Brenda and Cynthia (Terri Vaughn and Tracy Ellis Ross) constantly set Julia up on blind dates. These dates have ended in disaster (one guy was 40 years old and wanted to start a rap career and begins to sing a sexually suggestive rap song to Julia in full view of an entire restaurant)! Julia is looking for “Mr. Right” but keeps running into Mr. Wrong.
It is against this backdrop that Monty and Julia meet. However, the meeting is not smooth at all. Julia is uptight, pushy and insists on having everything done on schedule. In addition, Julia says she doesn’t want to “fraternize” or befriend Monty even making small conversation. Monty follows Julia’s rules driving as scheduled and says nothing.One day, Monty gets an emergency phone call while driving Julia home. Monty discovers his daughters are at the hospital. Monty turns the car around and takes the car directly to the hospital with Julia screaming in the back seat! His daughters are more important than any orders Julia has to give…
Upon arrival, Monty finds out his eldest daughter started a fire in his home by accident. A neighbor was next door looking in on the children but the children could have died while Monty left them unattended. Social Services were notified and the children were sent to live with their mother and boyfriend something Monty fought desperately to prevent. Meanwhile, Julia (who was sitting in the car) goes into the hospital to confront Monty and demand that Monty take her home. Julia arrives to see Social Services send Monty’s children to live with Jennifer and the drug lord. Julia’s heart begins to soften. Monty drives Julia home and Julia begins to ask questions about Monty’s kids. Monty refuses to talk (giving Julia a dose of her own medicine).
Monty returns to his day job as a mechanic and finds the owner Willie (veteran actor Louis Gossett Jr.) has been hurt. Apparently, someone tried to break into the auto shop to steal money. Willie fought the intruders off but was cut by a knife in the process. Willie has been a mechanic in the neighborhood for many years but he’s looking forward to retirement. Willie makes Monty an offer… if Monty can come up with $10,000 as a deposit, Willie will sell the auto shop to Monty and accept monthly installments. Monty accepts the offer.
Monty also discovers his child custody hearing is 1 week away. Monty doesn’t have any money or a lawyer. Out of desperation, Monty goes to see Julia the only lawyer he knows and asks for help. Julia (suspicious about why Monty wants custody of his daughters) verbally attacks Monty. Monty has overheard Julia’s girlfriends tell her she “needs a man” because it’s “been a long time” and finally tells Julia exactly what he thinks! Monty tells Julia off (you need a life!) and walks out of her office. Monty attends his hearing alone…
Monty goes into court to explain his situation and the judge won’t hear him. To complicate matters, Jennifer has hired the best lawyer drug money can buy. When it seems like Monty should give up, Julia walks in! Feeling badly about how she treated Monty, Julia represents Monty and gets the case continued. Monty gets visitation with his daughters one day per week. Julia tells Monty she’ll take his case but she’ll have to work on the case after hours. Monty agrees. Julia tells Monty to come by her office and bring any documents he has proving that he has provided for his daughters.
The next evening, Monty goes to Julia’s office. Monty provides all of his documents and tax returns. Julia is astonished to see Monty has provided for his daughters their entire lives. Monty doesn’t have a lot of money but most of the money has been to support his daughters (Monty was giving the grandmother of the children money for support weekly). Monty tells Julia it’s a stereotype to believe men don’t accept responsibility… Some men don’t provide but Monty says he’s not in that category. Julia asks Monty if there are any surprises in his past (important later) but the phone rings and Julia answers it interrupting Monty’s answer. Julia finishes Monty’s case preparation and Monty walks Julia out of the office to her car. On the way, Monty discovers it is Julia’s 32nd birthday. Julia says it’s just another day but Monty says he wants to do something special for her. Monty takes Julia to his favorite jazz club. Julia is scared to mingle at first but loosens up after a few drinks. Suddenly, Julia wants to dance with Monty! Monty dances with Julia (slowly and suggestively) and you can see the “real” Julia who lets her guard down is really, really attracted to Monty. Monty begins to pull away (startled by the quick change in Julia’s behavior and not knowing what to believe). Monty takes her home…
In Julia’s drunken state, Julia kisses Monty and asks him to spend the night. Monty is willing but Julia rushes to the bathroom to throw up after too much liquor. Julia changes her mind and tells Monty to go home.
The next few weeks pass quickly and Julia begins to feel confused. On one hand, Monty is a decent guy who defies her stereotypical thinking (he’s a responsible, loving, single father AND mature Julia has been annoyed by previous dates who want to play video games)! On the other hand Julia makes a six figure salary and her girlfriends belittle her decision to settle for a blue collar man. Julia tries to keep her distance by going on another blind date arranged by her girlfriends. This time the man seems like Mr. Right. He’s a well-educated attorney, handsome and refined. Julia has dinner with him but as she’s leaving the restaurant, THE MAN’S PREGNANT WIFE ARRIVES WITH A MINIVAN FULL OF CHILDREN (hysterically funny). The children insult her and tell her to “stay away from my daddy”. Julia is shocked and horrified that Mr. Right is a liar and cheater (you get the idea Mr. Right is constantly trying to sleep with unsuspecting women and his wife is constantly hunting him down)! Julia is embarrassed and leaves quickly!
After the “Mr. Right” fiasco, Julia begins to miss Monty and decides to give him another chance. Julia gets to meet Monty’s daughters. Monty invites Julia over for Chinese food (funny scene as the girls GRILL Julia about what Julia wants with their dad) and afterwards they spend a day at the aquarium.
While at the aquarium, one of Julia’s girlfriends sees her and confronts her reminding Julia that she has to be conscious of decisions which impact her career (i.e. dating someone blue collar). Monty overhears Julia’s friend and is hurt. Julia tries to apologize but Monty tells her he doesn’t want to argue. Monty says he only has “2 hours left of visitation with my daughters” and he won’t spend it arguing with Julia. Julia understands Monty’s daughters come first. Monty returns his daughters to their mother after the aquarium date and Julia comes along. After the girls leave, Julia has a heart-to-heart with Monty and tells him she does care for Monty but her last relationship was a disaster. She also explains why it’s important to maintain control in a relationship: the person she loved so much broke off their relationship 48 hours before getting married to someone else! Since then, Julia has kept her guard up with ALL men. Monty assures Julia he has feelings for her too.
The child custody hearing date arrives. Julia arrives and asks the judge to award custody to Monty since it would be in the best interest of the children. However, Jennifer’s lawyer counters with a surprise of his own: he has discovered Monty was arrested for rape. Monty wanted to tell Julia in the office but the phone rang and interrupted him. Julia feels betrayed because she didn’t hear this information from Monty earlier. Consequently, Julia storms out of the courtroom and refuses to see Monty again. Monty tries to explain what happened (it was a false accusation…the girl who accused Monty was afraid to tell her father the truth…the sex was consentual) but Julia won’t hear Monty. Julia tells Monty custody will be awarded to Jennifer since Monty didn’t disclose the information making Monty look like an unfit parent.
Monty returns to his home distraught. Life is not the same without his daughters. Early one morning (about 3:00 a.m.), Monty hears a knock on his door. It is Monty’s daughters crying! It turns out all 3 of them walked to his home by themselves. Monty’s daughters tell them they’ve been living in horrible conditions. It turns out Jennifer’s boyfriend , Joe, forces the eldest daughter to sell drugs and he’s physically abusing the youngest daughter who cries a lot (because she wants her dad). All of the neighbors know Joe is a thug but they have been intimidated so they will not testify against him for drug activities…so Joe always escapes prison.
Monty hugs all of his daughters and puts them to bed. Then, Monty has an emotional breakdown. He goes outside and begins to cry. Furious at his situation, Monty gets in his car to drive. Ironically, Jennifer and Joe are in their car on an intersecting road. Monty and Jennifer’s cars collide at the intersection and Monty sees it’s Jennifer and Joe. Monty goes over to the driver’s side of the car and pulls Joe out and begins to beat Joe senseless!
Meanwhile, the neighbors arrive at the intersection. They heard the collision and come out to see what is happening. The neighbors arrive to see Joe beaten senseless.
When Joe’s thugs intervene to attack Monty, the neighbors (armed with bats and other objects) beat the thugs senseless! The car collision and aftermath make the local news. Monty is identified as “the promising athlete who was falsely accused of rape” and Julia realizes she made a horrible mistake. She realizes Monty would never harm women but Julia never gave Monty a chance to explain his innocence.
Monty, Joe, Jennifer and all of the neighbors end up in court. Joe and Jennifer are on trial because the police arrived at the scene and found a large stash of drugs in the trunk of Joes’s car! When the judge states Joe and Jennifer will not face trial because there are no witnesses, the entire neighborhood stands up in court! They’re no longer afraid to testify against Joe. Joe and Jennifer go to jail.
Monty stands before the judge next. Again, Julia arrives in time. Julia asks for a moment with her client. Julia apologizes to Monty for not hearing his side of the story. Julia asks if Monty will accept her help and Monty says “just get me back to my daughters”. Julia defends Monty in court for battery charges (attacking Joe at the intersection). The judge asks for witnesses and NONE of the neighbors recall seeing Monty beat Joe senseless!!! Monty is released from police custody.
Monty and Julia return to the auto shop and are met by the entire neighborhood to celebrate. However, this time things are different. The auto shop no longer belongs to Willie…the shop has been renamed: MONTY’S!