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"WATCHING A BORING BUNCH OF FOOLS"

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 5 September 2010 03:28 (A review of Kissing a Fool)

by Dane Youssef


Now here is a movie that wants to be something successful by combining everything successful.


"Kissing A Fool" wants to be too many things. Can you mix successful ingredients and get the best of every world? "Kissing..." tries to be a '40's-style romantic comedy, a modern sex comedy and a sit-com at the same time.


Co-writer/Director Doug Ellin is a friend of Schwimmer's and Schwimmer has gone on and on about exactly how great it feels to shed his Ross-image and play the complete anti-Ross.


Jason Lee stars as Jay Murphy, a sensitive nice guy who's a romance novelist and is recovering from his latest breakup with a model named Natasha (played by TV's "Weird Science" Vanessa Angel). He has a sweet boy-next-door demeanor about him and his real problem is he's too nice and sensitive for his own good.


The worst part about being sensitive is that the world is so full of
s--t and garbage, people are such assholes that your feelings get hurt too often, too easy, too much. Better to be as cruel as the world or even more so and give worse than you get.


Believe me, I know of what I speak of.


David Schwimmer co-stars as Jay's best friend Max Abbitt, a sportscaster who's a womanizer who plays the field more than the teams reports on. A total creep and always with a dumb expression of his face, a self-satisfied drawl and his own cool-guy salutation: "What' up?" Always a toothpick and a "too cool" drawl dangling from his lip.


Mili Avital is unfortunately given the second-to-weakest developed character in the whole film. She's sweet, perky and photogenic... but nothing else, really. She and Lee could have some great chemistry if only the film allowed it. But this movie is written in a way that's so made-to-order, it's embarrassing.


Bonnie Hunt plays the narrator that is publishing Lee's book. She's also the narrator. Why does this movie need a narrator? The narration actually manages to make the movie even less suspenseful, if that's possible.


And Vanessa Angel, who broke through in TV's "Weird Science" and almost stole "Kingpin," is given the least interesting character. She plays a model and Jay's heartless ex-girlfriend who has dumped him and left him a pathetic neurotic mess. Hers is not a character, but a plot device. The heartless bitch who is so cruel and horrible to the sweet-hearted hero so more of our sympathy goes to him. I groaned at her scenes.


The movie's dialouge is not always plot-driven or cutesy-poo, like most romantic comedies are (although there are sometimes when it is).


Most of the script is written in an observational sit-com kind of way. Like "Seinfeld" or "Mad About You" (or yes, even "Friends"). But the dramatic/romantic scenes are embarrassingly maudlin.


Is it just me or has the entire cast of "Friends" been in movies that were all trying to mimic Kevin Smith's highmark rom-com "Chasing Amy?"


* The Object of My Affection

* Kissing A Fool

* Three To Tango


Smith's groundbreaking romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" was revolutionary, insightful... and made big waves for Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Lee and Smith himself. A romantic comedy, a sex comedy and a relationship story. Not merely a love story, but a life story.


Lately, Hollywood has been trying to make Smith-like slick Hollywood movies. So far, they failed terribly. Smith's movies are great because they are daring and avoid formulas. And they master the art of sparkling conversation. This film does neither. Nor did any of the other Kevin Smith-wannabes.


Lee's character has been through the ringer and things are looking bleaker. I really liked him here and felt for him. And identified with him more than I wanted to.


I knew guys like Max in high school, but in the outside world? Who knows? I was kind of like the Lee character myself. In a way, I still am. Too sensitive. Too easily vulnerable. Such a whipping boy. I did understand what Jay meant when he said, "You know, I wish I had your heart. Then I wouldn't have spent so many sleepless nights...."


The plot seems cruel and creepy, yet too sit-com-like at the same time. "Test my fiancée's fidelity?" Almost seems like a sick ploy to throw Jay & Samantha together, doesn't it?


Oh wait, it is...


Anyone who has ever seen a movie will know what the ending will be. It's almost like waiting for the coyote to fall off the cliff.


Schwimmer's Max Abbit character seems to dumb and dull and annoying to be interesting. He must be sick of playing the same type ("The Pallbearer," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and TV's "Friends"), but this movie will do nothing for him. Still, at least he tried.


I kept (back in 1999 when I first saw this movie) seeing a mad Ross trying to be bad whenever I looked at him, but now looking back on it and putting Ross out of my head (I really dislike the show anyway), Schwimmer does an effective job... however he doesn't really have dimensions and depth.


He's just not an interesting womanizer. Apparently, a lot of Schwimmer fans felt confused by his role here.


It feels like Schwimmer wants to play someone completely different without risking losing his hard-core audience.


Schwimmer does do a much better job breaking typecasting in the forgettable "Since You've Been Gone" and the memorable "Band of Brothers."


MEMO TO Hollywood: If you're gonna keep making bad Kevin Smith-knockoffs, at lest quit putting "Friends" actors in them.


--Forget This Pathetic Attempt At Romance and Comedy, Dane Youssef




danessf@yahoo.com

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"WATCHING A BORING BUNCH OF FOOLS"

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 5 September 2010 03:26 (A review of Kissing a Fool)

by Dane Youssef


Now here is a movie that wants to be something successful by combining everything successful.


"Kissing A Fool" wants to be too many things. Can you mix successful ingredients and get the best of every world? "Kissing..." tries to be a '40's-style romantic comedy, a modern sex comedy and a sit-com at the same time.


Co-writer/Director Doug Ellin is a friend of Schwimmer's and Schwimmer has gone on and on about exactly how great it feels to shed his Ross-image and play the complete anti-Ross.


Jason Lee stars as Jay Murphy, a sensitive nice guy who's a romance novelist and is recovering from his latest breakup with a model named Natasha (played by TV's "Weird Science" Vanessa Angel). He has a sweet boy-next-door demeanor about him and his real problem is he's too nice and sensitive for his own good.


The worst part about being sensitive is that the world is so full of
shit and garbage, people are such assholes that your feelings get hurt too often, too easy, too much. Better to be as cruel as the world or even more so and give worse than you get.


Believe me, I know of what I speak of.


David Schwimmer co-stars as Jay's best friend Max Abbitt, a sportscaster who's a womanizer who plays the field more than the teams reports on. A total creep and always with a dumb expression of his face, a self-satisfied drawl and his own cool-guy salutation: "What' up?" Always a toothpick and a "too cool" drawl dangling from his lip.


Mili Avital is unfortunately given the second-to-weakest developed character in the whole film. She's sweet, perky and photogenic... but nothing else, really. She and Lee could have some great chemistry if only the film allowed it. But this movie is written in a way that's so made-to-order, it's embarrassing.


Bonnie Hunt plays the narrator that is publishing Lee's book. She's also the narrator. Why does this movie need a narrator? The narration actually manages to make the movie even less suspenseful, if that's possible.


And Vanessa Angel, who broke through in TV's "Weird Science" and almost stole "Kingpin," is given the least interesting character. She plays a model and Jay's heartless ex-girlfriend who has dumped him and left him a pathetic neurotic mess. Hers is not a character, but a plot device. The heartless b---h who is so cruel and horrible to the sweet-hearted hero so more of our sympathy goes to him. I groaned at her scenes.


The movie's dialouge is not always plot-driven or cutesy-poo, like most romantic comedies are (although there are sometimes when it is).


Most of the script is written in an observational sit-com kind of way. Like "Seinfeld" or "Mad About You" (or yes, even "Friends"). But the dramatic/romantic scenes are embarrassingly maudlin.


Is it just me or has the entire cast of "Friends" been in movies that were all trying to mimic Kevin Smith's highmark rom-com "Chasing Amy?"


* The Object of My Affection

* Kissing A Fool

* Three To Tango


Smith's groundbreaking romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" was revolutionary, insightful... and made big waves for Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Lee and Smith himself. A romantic comedy, a sex comedy and a relationship story. Not merely a love story, but a life story.


Lately, Hollywood has been trying to make Smith-like slick Hollywood movies. So far, they failed terribly. Smith's movies are great because they are daring and avoid formulas. And they master the art of sparkling conversation. This film does neither.


Nor did any of the other Kevin Smith-wannabes.


Lee's character has been through the ringer and things are looking bleaker. I really liked him here and felt for him. And identified with him more than I wanted to.


I knew guys like Max in high school, but in the outside world? Who knows? I was kind of like the Lee character myself. In a way, I still am. Too sensitive. Too easily vulnerable. Such a whipping boy. I did understand what Jay meant when he said, "You know, I wish I had your heart. Then I wouldn't have spent so many sleepless nights...."


The plot seems cruel and creepy, yet too sit-com-like at the same time. "Test my fiancée''s fidelity?" Almost seems like a sick ploy to throw Jay & Samantha together, doesn't it?


Oh wait, it is...


Anyone who has ever seen a movie will know what the ending will be. It's almost like waiting for the coyote to fall off the cliff.


Schwimmer's Max Abbit character seems to dumb and dull and annoying to be interesting. He must be sick of playing the same type ("The Pallbearer," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and TV's "Friends"), but this movie will do nothing for him. Still, at least he tried.


I kept (back in 1999 when I first saw this movie) seeing a mad Ross trying to be bad whenever I looked at him, but now looking back on it and putting Ross out of my head (I really dislike the show anyway), Schwimmer does an effective job... however he doesn't really have dimensions and depth.


He's just not an interesting womanizer. Apparently, a lot of Schwimmer fans felt confused by his role here.


It feels like Schwimmer wants to play someone completely different without risking losing his hard-core audience.


Schwimmer does do a much better job breaking typecasting in the forgettable "Since You've Been Gone" and the memorable "Band of Brothers."


MEMO TO Hollywood: If you're gonna keep making bad Kevin Smith-knockoffs, at lest quit putting "Friends" actors in them.


--Forget This Attempt At Romance and Comedy, Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"WATCHING A BORING BUNCH OF FOOLS"

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 5 September 2010 03:25 (A review of Kissing a Fool)

by Dane Youssef


Now here is a movie that wants to be something successful by combining everything successful.


"Kissing A Fool" wants to be too many things. Can you mix successful ingredients and get the best of every world? "Kissing..." tries to be a '40's-style romantic comedy, a modern sex comedy and a sit-com at the same time.


Co-writer/Director Doug Ellin is a friend of Schwimmer's and Schwimmer has gone on and on about exactly how great it feels to shed his Ross-image and play the complete anti-Ross.


Jason Lee stars as Jay Murphy, a sensitive nice guy who's a romance novelist and is recovering from his latest breakup with a model named Natasha (played by TV's "Weird Science" Vanessa Angel). He has a sweet boy-next-door demeanor about him and his real problem is he's too nice and sensitive for his own good.


The worst part about being sensitive is that the world is so full of
shit and garbage, people are such assholes that your feelings get hurt too often, too easy, too much. Better to be as cruel as the world or even more so and give worse than you get.


Believe me, I know of what I speak of.


David Schwimmer co-stars as Jay's best friend Max Abbitt, a sportscaster who's a womanizer who plays the field more than the teams reports on. A total creep and always with a dumb expression of his face, a self-satisfied drawl and his own cool-guy salutation: "What' up?" Always a toothpick and a "too cool" drawl dangling from his lip.


Mili Avital is unfortunately given the second-to-weakest developed character in the whole film. She's sweet, perky and photogenic... but nothing else, really. She and Lee could have some great chemistry if only the film allowed it. But this movie is written in a way that's so made-to-order, it's embarrassing.


Bonnie Hunt plays the narrator that is publishing Lee's book. She's also the narrator. Why does this movie need a narrator? The narration actually manages to make the movie even less suspenseful, if that's possible.


And Vanessa Angel, who broke through in TV's "Weird Science" and almost stole "Kingpin," is given the least interesting character. She plays a model and Jay's heartless ex-girlfriend who has dumped him and left him a pathetic neurotic mess. Hers is not a character, but a plot device. The heartless b---h who is so cruel and horrible to the sweet-hearted hero so more of our sympathy goes to him. I groaned at her scenes.


The movie's dialogue is not always plot-driven or cutesy-poo, like most romantic comedies are (although there are sometimes when it is).


Most of the script is written in an observational sit-com kind of way. Like "Seinfeld" or "Mad About You" (or yes, even "Friends"). But the dramatic/romantic scenes are embarrassingly maudlin.


Is it just me or has the entire cast of "Friends" been in movies that were all trying to mimic Kevin Smith's highmark rom-com "Chasing Amy?"


* The Object of My Affection

* Kissing A Fool

* Three To Tango


Smith's groundbreaking romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" was revolutionary, insightful... and made big waves for Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Lee and Smith himself. A romantic comedy, a sex comedy and a relationship story. Not merely a love story, but a life story.


Lately, Hollywood has been trying to make Smith-like slick Hollywood movies. So far, they failed terribly. Smith's movies are great because they are daring and avoid formulas. And they master the art of sparkling conversation. This film does neither.


Nor did any of the other Kevin Smith-wannabes.


Lee's character has been through the ringer and things are looking bleaker. I really liked him here and felt for him. And identified with him more than I wanted to.


I knew guys like Max in high school, but in the outside world? Who knows? I was kind of like the Lee character myself. In a way, I still am. Too sensitive. Too easily vulnerable. Such a whipping boy. I did understand what Jay meant when he said, "You know, I wish I had your heart. Then I wouldn't have spent so many sleepless nights...."


The plot seems cruel and creepy, yet too sit-com-like at the same time. "Test my fiancée''s fidelity?" Almost seems like a sick ploy to throw Jay & Samantha together, doesn't it?

Oh wait, it is...



Anyone who has ever seen a movie will know what the ending will be. It's almost like waiting for the coyote to fall off the cliff.


Schwimmer's Max Abbit character seems to dumb and dull and annoying to be interesting. He must be sick of playing the same type ("The Pallbearer," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and TV's "Friends"), but this movie will do nothing for him. Still, at least he tried.

I kept (back in 1999 when I first saw this movie) seeing a mad Ross trying to be bad whenever I looked at him, but now looking back on it and putting Ross out of my head (I really dislike the show anyway), Schwimmer does an effective job... however he doesn't really have dimensions and depth.


He's just not an interesting womanizer. Apparently, a lot of Schwimmer fans felt confused by his role here.


It feels like Schwimmer wants to play someone completely different without risking losing his hard-core audience.


Schwimmer does do a much better job breaking typecasting in the forgettable "Since You've Been Gone" and the memorable "Band of Brothers."


MEMO TO Hollywood: If you're gonna keep making bad Kevin Smith-knockoffs, at lest quit putting "Friends" actors in them.


--Forget This Pathetic Attempt At Romance and Comedy, Dane Youssef



danessf@yahoo.com

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"WATCHING A BORING BUNCH OF FOOLS"

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 5 September 2010 03:24 (A review of Kissing a Fool)

by Dane Youssef


Now here is a movie that wants to be something successful by combining everything successful.


"Kissing A Fool" wants to be too many things. Can you mix successful ingredients and get the best of every world? "Kissing..." tries to be a '40's-style romantic comedy, a modern sex comedy and a sit-com at the same time.


Co-writer/Director Doug Ellin is a friend of Schwimmer's and Schwimmer has gone on and on about exactly how great it feels to shed his Ross-image and play the complete anti-Ross.


Jason Lee stars as Jay Murphy, a sensitive nice guy who's a romance novelist and is recovering from his latest breakup with a model named Natasha (played by TV's "Weird Science" Vanessa Angel). He has a sweet boy-next-door demeanor about him and his real problem is he's too nice and sensitive for his own good.


The worst part about being sensitive is that the world is so full of
shit and garbage, people are such assholes that your feelings get hurt too often, too easy, too much. Better to be as cruel as the world or even more so and give worse than you get.


Believe me, I know of what I speak of.


David Schwimmer co-stars as Jay's best friend Max Abbitt, a sportscaster who's a womanizer who plays the field more than the teams reports on. A total creep and always with a dumb expression of his face, a self-satisfied drawl and his own cool-guy salutation: "What' up?" Always a toothpick and a "too cool" drawl dangling from his lip.


Mili Avital is unfortunately given the second-to-weakest developed character in the whole film. She's sweet, perky and photogenic... but nothing else, really. She and Lee could have some great chemistry if only the film allowed it. But this movie is written in a way that's so made-to-order, it's embarrassing.


Bonnie Hunt plays the narrator that is publishing Lee's book. She's also the narrator. Why does this movie need a narrator? The narration actually manages to make the movie even less suspenseful, if that's possible.


And Vanessa Angel, who broke through in TV's "Weird Science" and almost stole "Kingpin," is given the least interesting character. She plays a model and Jay's heartless ex-girlfriend who has dumped him and left him a pathetic neurotic mess. Hers is not a character, but a plot device. The heartless bitch who is so cruel and horrible to the sweet-hearted hero so more of our sympathy goes to him. I groaned at her scenes.


The movie's dialogue is not always plot-driven or cutesy-poo, like most romantic comedies are (although there are sometimes when it is).


Most of the script is written in an observational sit-com kind of way. Like "Seinfeld" or "Mad About You" (or yes, even "Friends"). But the dramatic/romantic scenes are embarrassingly maudlin.


Is it just me or has the entire cast of "Friends" been in movies that were all trying to mimic Kevin Smith's highmark rom-com "Chasing Amy?"


* The Object of My Affection

* Kissing A Fool

* Three To Tango


Smith's groundbreaking romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" was revolutionary, insightful... and made big waves for Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Lee and Smith himself. A romantic comedy, a sex comedy and a relationship story. Not merely a love story, but a life story.


Lately, Hollywood has been trying to make Smith-like slick Hollywood movies. So far, they failed terribly. Smith's movies are great because they are daring and avoid formulas. And they master the art of sparkling conversation. This film does neither.


Nor did any of the other Kevin Smith-wannabes.


Lee's character has been through the ringer and things are looking bleaker. I really liked him here and felt for him. And identified with him more than I wanted to.


I knew guys like Max in high school, but in the outside world? Who knows? I was kind of like the Lee character myself. In a way, I still am. Too sensitive. Too easily vulnerable. Such a whipping boy. I did understand what Jay meant when he said, "You know, I wish I had your heart. Then I wouldn't have spent so many sleepless nights...."


The plot seems cruel and creepy, yet too sit-com-like at the same time. "Test my fiancée''s fidelity?" Almost seems like a sick ploy to throw Jay & Samantha together, doesn't it?


Oh wait, it is...


Anyone who has ever seen a movie will know what the ending will be. It's almost like waiting for the coyote to fall off the cliff.


Schwimmer's Max Abbit character seems to dumb and dull and annoying to be interesting. He must be sick of playing the same type ("The Pallbearer," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and TV's "Friends"), but this movie will do nothing for him. Still, at least he tried.


I kept (back in 1999 when I first saw this movie) seeing a mad Ross trying to be bad whenever I looked at him, but now looking back on it and putting Ross out of my head (I really dislike the show anyway), Schwimmer does an effective job... however he doesn't really have dimensions and depth.


He's just not an interesting womanizer. Apparently, a lot of Schwimmer fans felt confused by his role here.


It feels like Schwimmer wants to play someone completely different without risking losing his hard-core audience.


Schwimmer does do a much better job breaking typecasting in the forgettable "Since You've Been Gone" and the memorable "Band of Brothers."


MEMO TO Hollywood: If you're gonna keep making bad Kevin Smith-knockoffs, at lest quit putting "Friends" actors in them.


--Forget This Pathetic Attempt At Romance and Comedy, Dane Youssef




danessf@yahoo.com

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"WATCHING A BORING BUNCH OF FOOLS"

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 5 September 2010 03:24 (A review of Kissing a Fool)

by Dane Youssef


Now here is a movie that wants to be something successful by combining everything successful.


"Kissing A Fool" wants to be too many things. Can you mix successful ingredients and get the best of every world? "Kissing..." tries to be a '40's-style romantic comedy, a modern sex comedy and a sit-com at the same time.


Co-writer/Director Doug Ellin is a friend of Schwimmer's and Schwimmer has gone on and on about exactly how great it feels to shed his Ross-image and play the complete anti-Ross.


Jason Lee stars as Jay Murphy, a sensitive nice guy who's a romance novelist and is recovering from his latest breakup with a model named Natasha (played by TV's "Weird Science" Vanessa Angel). He has a sweet boy-next-door demeanor about him and his real problem is he's too nice and sensitive for his own good.


The worst part about being sensitive is that the world is so full of
shit and garbage, people are such assholes that your feelings get hurt too often, too easy, too much. Better to be as cruel as the world or even more so and give worse than you get.


Believe me, I know of what I speak of.


David Schwimmer co-stars as Jay's best friend Max Abbitt, a sportscaster who's a womanizer who plays the field more than the teams reports on. A total creep and always with a dumb expression of his face, a self-satisfied drawl and his own cool-guy salutation: "What' up?" Always a toothpick and a "too cool" drawl dangling from his lip.


Mili Avital is unfortunately given the second-to-weakest developed character in the whole film. She's sweet, perky and photogenic... but nothing else, really. She and Lee could have some great chemistry if only the film allowed it. But this movie is written in a way that's so made-to-order, it's embarrassing.


Bonnie Hunt plays the narrator that is publishing Lee's book. She's also the narrator. Why does this movie need a narrator? The narration actually manages to make the movie even less suspenseful, if that's possible.


And Vanessa Angel, who broke through in TV's "Weird Science" and almost stole "Kingpin," is given the least interesting character. She plays a model and Jay's heartless ex-girlfriend who has dumped him and left him a pathetic neurotic mess. Hers is not a character, but a plot device. The heartless bitch who is so cruel and horrible to the sweet-hearted hero so more of our sympathy goes to him. I groaned at her scenes.


The movie's dialogue is not always plot-driven or cutesy-poo, like most romantic comedies are (although there are sometimes when it is).


Most of the script is written in an observational sit-com kind of way. Like "Seinfeld" or "Mad About You" (or yes, even "Friends"). But the dramatic/romantic scenes are embarrassingly maudlin.


Is it just me or has the entire cast of "Friends" been in movies that were all trying to mimic Kevin Smith's highmark rom-com "Chasing Amy?"


* The Object of My Affection

* Kissing A Fool

* Three To Tango


Smith's groundbreaking romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" was revolutionary, insightful... and made big waves for Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Lee and Smith himself. A romantic comedy, a sex comedy and a relationship story. Not merely a love story, but a life story.


Lately, Hollywood has been trying to make Smith-like slick Hollywood movies. So far, they failed terribly. Smith's movies are great because they are daring and avoid formulas. And they master the art of sparkling conversation. This film does neither.


Nor did any of the other Kevin Smith-wannabes.


Lee's character has been through the ringer and things are looking bleaker. I really liked him here and felt for him. And identified with him more than I wanted to.


I knew guys like Max in high school, but in the outside world? Who knows? I was kind of like the Lee character myself. In a way, I still am. Too sensitive. Too easily vulnerable. Such a whipping boy. I did understand what Jay meant when he said, "You know, I wish I had your heart. Then I wouldn't have spent so many sleepless nights...."


The plot seems cruel and creepy, yet too sit-com-like at the same time. "Test my fiancée''s fidelity?" Almost seems like a sick ploy to throw Jay & Samantha together, doesn't it?


Oh wait, it is...


Anyone who has ever seen a movie will know what the ending will be. It's almost like waiting for the coyote to fall off the cliff.


Schwimmer's Max Abbit character seems to dumb and dull and annoying to be interesting. He must be sick of playing the same type ("The Pallbearer," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and TV's "Friends"), but this movie will do nothing for him. Still, at least he tried.


I kept (back in 1999 when I first saw this movie) seeing a mad Ross trying to be bad whenever I looked at him, but now looking back on it and putting Ross out of my head (I really dislike the show anyway), Schwimmer does an effective job... however he doesn't really have dimensions and depth.


He's just not an interesting womanizer. Apparently, a lot of Schwimmer fans felt confused by his role here.


It feels like Schwimmer wants to play someone completely different without risking losing his hard-core audience.


Schwimmer does do a much better job breaking typecasting in the forgettable "Since You've Been Gone" and the memorable "Band of Brothers."


MEMO TO Hollywood: If you're gonna keep making bad Kevin Smith-knockoffs, at lest quit putting "Friends" actors in them.


--Forget This Pathetic Attempt At Romance and Comedy, Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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"WATCHING A BORING BUNCH OF FOOLS"

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 5 September 2010 03:22 (A review of Kissing a Fool)

by Dane Youssef


Now here is a movie that wants to be something successful by combining everything successful.


"Kissing A Fool" wants to be too many things. Can you mix successful ingredients and get the best of every world? "Kissing..." tries to be a '40's-style romantic comedy, a modern sex comedy and a sit-com at the same time.


Co-writer/Director Doug Ellin is a friend of Schwimmer's and Schwimmer has gone on and on about exactly how great it feels to shed his Ross-image and play the complete anti-Ross.


Jason Lee stars as Jay Murphy, a sensitive nice guy who's a romance novelist and is recovering from his latest breakup with a model named Natasha (played by TV's "Weird Science" Vanessa Angel). He has a sweet boy-next-door demeanor about him and his real problem is he's too nice and sensitive for his own good.


The worst part about being sensitive is that the world is so full of shit and garbage, people are such assholes that your feelings get hurt too often, too easy, too much. Better to be as cruel as the world or even more so and give worse than you get.


Believe me, I know of what I speak of.


David Schwimmer co-stars as Jay's best friend Max Abbitt, a sportscaster who's a womanizer who plays the field more than the teams reports on. A total creep and always with a dumb expression of his face, a self-satisfied drawl and his own cool-guy salutation: "What' up?" Always a toothpick and a "too cool" drawl dangling from his lip.


Mili Avital is unfortunately given the second-to-weakest developed character in the whole film. She's sweet, perky and photogenic... but nothing else, really. She and Lee could have some great chemistry if only the film allowed it. But this movie is written in a way that's so made-to-order, it's embarrassing.


Bonnie Hunt plays the narrator that is publishing Lee's book. She's also the narrator. Why does this movie need a narrator? The narration actually manages to make the movie even less suspenseful, if that's possible.


And Vanessa Angel, who broke through in TV's "Weird Science" and almost stole "Kingpin," is given the least interesting character. She plays a model and Jay's heartless ex-girlfriend who has dumped him and left him a pathetic neurotic mess. Hers is not a character, but a plot device. The heartless b---h who is so cruel and horrible to the sweet-hearted hero so more of our sympathy goes to him. I groaned at her scenes.


The movie's dialogue is not always plot-driven or cutesy-poo, like most romantic comedies are (although there are sometimes when it is).


Most of the script is written in an observational sit-com kind of way. Like "Seinfeld" or "Mad About You" (or yes, even "Friends"). But the dramatic/romantic scenes are embarrassingly maudlin.


Is it just me or has the entire cast of "Friends" been in movies that were all trying to mimic Kevin Smith's highmark rom-com "Chasing Amy?"


* The Object of My Affection

* Kissing A Fool

* Three To Tango


Smith's groundbreaking romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" was revolutionary, insightful... and made big waves for Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Lee and Smith himself. A romantic comedy, a sex comedy and a relationship story. Not merely a love story, but a life story.


Lately, Hollywood has been trying to make Smith-like slick Hollywood movies. So far, they failed terribly. Smith's movies are great because they are daring and avoid formulas. And they master the art of sparkling conversation. This film does neither.


Nor did any of the other Kevin Smith-wannabes.


Lee's character has been through the ringer and things are looking bleaker. I really liked him here and felt for him. And identified with him more than I wanted to.


I knew guys like Max in high school, but in the outside world? Who knows? I was kind of like the Lee character myself. In a way, I still am. Too sensitive. Too easily vulnerable. Such a whipping boy. I did understand what Jay meant when he said, "You know, I wish I had your heart. Then I wouldn't have spent so many sleepless nights...."


The plot seems cruel and creepy, yet too sit-com-like at the same time. "Test my fiancée''s fidelity?" Almost seems like a sick ploy to throw Jay & Samantha together, doesn't it?


Oh wait, it is...


Anyone who has ever seen a movie will know what the ending will be. It's almost like waiting for the coyote to fall off the cliff.


Schwimmer's Max Abbit character seems to dumb and dull and annoying to be interesting. He must be sick of playing the same type ("The Pallbearer," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and TV's "Friends"), but this movie will do nothing for him. Still, at least he tried.


I kept (back in 1999 when I first saw this movie) seeing a mad Ross trying to be bad whenever I looked at him, but now looking back on it and putting Ross out of my head (I really dislike the show anyway), Schwimmer does an effective job... however he doesn't really have dimensions and depth.


He's just not an interesting womanizer. Apparently, a lot of Schwimmer fans felt confused by his role here.


It feels like Schwimmer wants to play someone completely different without risking losing his hard-core audience.


Schwimmer does do a much better job breaking typecasting in the forgettable "Since You've Been Gone" and the memorable "Band of Brothers."


MEMO TO Hollywood: If you're gonna keep making bad Kevin Smith-knockoffs, at lest quit putting "Friends" actors in them.


--Forget This Pathetic Attempt Romance or Comedy, Dane Youssef


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"A BAD SHOW ABOUT A BAD SHOW"

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 29 August 2010 04:05 (A review of Good Morning, Miami)

by Dane Youssef


Ah, yes. The weather nun, the hispanic cariacture co-anchor and the dirty old grandma weren't great... or perhaps even very good.


But they're gone now. So now does the show have a chance?


It's not what's on the show that's the problem now. It's what's not there. "Good Morning, Miami"'s current biggest problem is it's generic, bland and flavorless.
It's not just that it fails. It's not even really trying. It just lays back and goes on auto-pilot.


Isn't that the worst thing a show--especially a comedy can do?


Mark Feuerstein (TV's "Loving" and "Caroline in the City" and the films "Woman on Top" and "What Women Want") as Jake is not terrible by any means, just bland and flat--like Feuerstein was in his first lead "Conrad Bloom."


Mark is at times, not interesting enough to hate. He's not awful, you don't feel irritation watching him---just indifference. He's effective and perfectly cast when he plays the too-young, too-wide-eyed, too-youthful, too-excited love interests ("Caroline in the City," "West Wing" and "Once and Again"), as well as sidekicks ("What Women Want" and "Woman on Top") and lawyers ("Rules of Engagement," "Muder by Media," "West Wing")--and he's very effective there, which explains why NBC continues to employ him.

But as a lead, he's stilted and uncharismatic. He's charming and has some nice physically expressive comedic moments, but he doesn't have the tall stature or confidence to carry a whole show. Not a bad actor, just not a LEAD actor.


Ashley Williams (TV's "As the World Turns" and "Dawson's Creek") seems to suffer from the same problems. I love her personally, but her Dylan character just leaves me feeling heavy disinterest.


She smiles, delivers a scripted on-liner, but not much more. People clamored the adorable little girl charm Ashley gave the show (when she just smiled) but her character is window dressing and plot device. Becoming wise, stupid and smiling whenever the plot requires her to. All Ashley is allowed to bring to her character is a sweet grin.


No wonder the viewers (the few fans of the show) seem to clamor for Penny. Constance Zimmer ("Warm Blooded Killers" and TV's "My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star"), well at least, she gets more to do and say as the lazy, worthless, dead-weight secretary in "WTF is that?!" clothing.


We've seen this character in almost every workplace sit-com ever made (TV's "Suddenly Susan," "NewsRadio," "The Larry Sanders Show," etc). Pretty much evey time a sit-com or sit-com-like movie sets foot in an office building, we'll run into one of these characters.


It's as if NBC was scraping the bottom of the bin and found all this stuff and just tried to assemble a show out of what was left.


That worked with Max & David when they put the magnificent "Will & Grace" together, but not here. Not at all. Not remotely.


"GMM" just takes the scrap cliches' and assembles them, never at any point making any kind of attempt to re-vitalize them. Were Max & David exhausted and/or too busy from "W&G"? Or did they just not care?


The Penny character, although as unoriginal as it gets, is at least able to give the show some much-needed life and color. I looked her up here on IMDb and read that she is one of the older cast-members on the show. She hasn't had a great deal of work and fame, sadly. "GMM" is her break-out. That's good. She's been waiting a while. Too long, I think. It's about time. She has her own fan-site now. She's waited long enough for it.


The foppish, boorish blowhard of an anchorman, well-played by Lecshter, also has some nice moments. As Gavin Stone, he's the very empitime of the conceited jack-ass. Leschter makes his character spew insulting banter and insults like a machine and smiles a phony grin like he's trying to sell you a used car on cylinder blocks.


When he butts heads with Jake, it's funny, but "GMM" never takes real advantage of that. Like a lot of it's promise and potential, it squanders it, taking the cheapest and easiest shots imaginable. Shooting itself in the foot and trying to jerk us back and forth like a arcade game joystick---without any real skill or style.


Instead of having the characters all tear into each other (which would be really funny and entertaining), they all just tear into Jake. They all push him over and steamroller over JUST him. While something like that COULD, once again, BE funny---it's not here because Jake is just too easy a target. He's a sitting duck. He's just a big push-over. It's funny to take away a character's dignity IF THEY HAVE IT. But if just no challenge, it's just NOT FUNNY. It's just bullying. And comes off as kind of cruel. Humilating Jake is basically just like shooting dead fish in a shotglass.


It might be funny to give Jake some more edge. Some more banter. More one-liners. More put-downs. He doesn't humiliate himself without a fight. Give him some dignity. That's why it's much funnier and better when Gavin and Penny get hoisted by thier you-know-whats. It's just more entertaining to watch all the air get let out.


What lurks benath Penny's nasty, hostile and badly-dressed surface? Who is the real Gavin? In-jokes about the secret of Frank's sexuality have existed since the beginning? What's there? There's so much potential for a great series and it jumps and dodges all the potential for a better show. Why?


The realtionships, the unrequited love, the workplace war-zone, the relationship between Jake & Penny? Frank's sexuality? And more. The opportunity is here for another gold-mine like "W&G." But it's unmined for some reason. Why?


Perhaps because with "W&G," Max & David were sriking it out on their won. They were making their mark. Now that they're at the top, they're afraid to rock the boat. Afraid to say something significant. Or maybe it's NBC that wants to play it safe?


The cast mostly seems ideal. I just wish they were all at the service of a show that's just better. "GMM" plays like all the left-over cliches' "W&G" didn't want to bother with. Is that the real problem? Lack of inspiration and imagination? Or nerve? Or is "GMM" just too scared? Or maybe... no one just cares enough.


It looks like if you still wanna see Miami at it's best, watch "CSI."


--Hoping Better Things For All Of Miami, Dane Youssef


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Universal Presents "Nintendo 1989: The Movie"

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 16 August 2010 05:27 (A review of The Wizard)

by Dane Youssef


For those precious few of you who are reading this and don't know--I know I'm preaching to the built-in choir here, but there's always a few who may be a little unclear, vauge or just got the wrong address.


"THE WIZARD" isn't any moniker or fun new twist on the classic story of a little girl from Kansas who gets caught in a tornado and finds herself not only over the rainbow, but in a wonderland of technocolor and strange characters.


Well, at least not exactly.


This "Wizard" dealt with kids in peril, feeling trapped in where they were. Video games were their outlet. One boy so disturbed, he had become mute and later committed after witnessing the death of his sister. The older brothers living with the father after the divorce. When a child is lost, a family is too.


"The Wizard" open with a small, determined soul walking along a long stretch of road in the pursuit of something. Some goal, some destination. Some form of escape.


There's something... he's looking for. He's on his way... somewhere. Somewhere special, somewhere important. Somewhere he needs to be. It fades in like a sunrise... where is he going? We don't know. We don't even know who he is, but we want to go with him. This boy's name is Jimmy. And he has a goal. He tells us, "California..."


Jimmy is in an institution and has been ever since he lost his sister. Yet he seems to break loose again and again like the family cat. Is there some unlocked door sans security at this loony hatch?


One day during a visit, big brother Corey takes little Jimmy and the two break loose--together. At an arcade, Corey first-hand witnesses Jimmy is Bobby Fisher's unacknowleged love child at Nintendo. They use his skills to play for money. And because it's a road trip movie, they have to pick up a woman along the way.


It's a PG flick for little kids (once again, Nintendo fans), so it has to a preteen like them--and they have to be just friend. Her name is Haley, an adolescent drifter. She claims to know the score... and she can raise the money to get them where they need to go.


They're hard-up for money. But Halley is one sizzling hustler. Wait 'til she's old enough to develop sex appeal to add to the mix. Looking back on all this, I was expecting Halley to try raising money by "tit-for-tat." You give us a ride, and I'll give you..."


It was my mother who recalled that old song from the "He's A Pinball Wizard" by The Who and suggested, well.. maybe that's where the movie got its namesake. The catchy little pop ditty of some soul who had nothing else in his life but was a wonder at that one arcade game. It was his world. Whoever he was.


Well, if anyone could relate to that....


'Would've liked to hear that on the soundtrack at maybe some point.


A lot of the world said that the "Wizard" is stuffed to the gills with commercials. But no, they were wrong.


"The Wizard" WAS a commercial. For Nintendo and the Universal Studios Tour.


If we'd gotten some scenes where we see Jimmy's connection to these games, how he becomes Zen with them, there might have actually been some real significance. We're just watching video games being played. And... that's all we as kids wanted when this thing came out.


Not so see a really poweful piece of cinema, but to just see kids like us running loose without parental supervision and Nintendo being our outlet source of rebellion. Children as resourceful as can be doing incredible things with the toys we played with and loved.


Screenwriter/producer David Chisholm seems to have cobbled this thing together out of a lot of spare plot threads and gimmicks. Usually filmmakers do this when they're just doing the obligator rush hatchet job and don't have their heart in the project they're working on. And you can tell--Chisholm doesn't love this screenplay of his. This is not a personal project for him. This is just a Hollywood crowd-pleaser designed to feed the cult masses.


"The Wizard" was written out of scraps of other movies, like the Oscar-winning "Rain Man"--which still remains one of my all-time faves. And the pumped-up showdown finale is right out of "Rocky" and nearly every sports movie ever made.


The choir (us) loves video games, lives for them, thrives on them. But the makers of this movie don't. They don't care about any of this except--"Here, buy this. Spend your money on..."


For all of those who belonged to the mass cult of Nintendo, this was the third coming.


Seeing it again now with older, more experienced eyes like an old man going back into his childhood home, the bedroom we once lived in, the bed once ours, looking over our own toys and photos... and, and... what the hell was I thinking? Was that even me? Who was that guy?


What is "The Wizard"? A film of our adoration for this piece of cinema from or childhood, which weaved together our love of movies featuring us kids as the heroes and our undying love of the video games.


... Jesus, what were we thinking?


"Wizard" claimed itself later once released on home video (B.D.D.--before DVD) as a "warm-hearted family" film. But no, no, no, no, no and no. God, no. Hell, no. F--k, no.


It was anything but. It was specifically for the children--the children who wanted to leave the home and burden of their families and go play Nintendo somewhere. And the kids were astoundingly resourceful, like they had their own little underground black market.


The adults were the utmost of bumbling fools, almost mentally retarded--as they tend to be in a lot of kiddie movies.


Fred Savage stands as one of the finest child actors there ever was. Shirley Temple and Macaulay Culkin had more fame, but the Savage was just that--even better. And Luke Edwards is all right for what this role calls her--acting terminally shy at all times. Jenny Lewis as the "mover and shaker"... Good Lord, I don't even think I believed when I first saw it. But maybe we're not supposed to. I think the whole dramatic plot point of Haley is she's not what she pretends to be.


For a movie all the kids and their toys, "The Wizard" holds some surprisingly good adult performances. Steven Grives as the electrified Video Armageddon Announcer who's like a British Christopher Lloyd as the charged-up Master of Ceremonies. And Will Seltzer as an especially scummy bounty hunter who tracks down runaway kids.


Beau Bridges, commendable--but he has that role that literally ANY ACTOR could sleepwalk through. Christian Slater himself, a fine actor, very fine. Like fine china. People make too much of his resemblence to Jack Nicholson--but he's no celeb impersonator. He's solid gold on his own. And he's given virtually nothing to do in his "eldest brother" role.


Hey, the kids don't care about Bridges or Christian Slater--they care about Nintendo. Well, there's not much Nintendo either.


For some strange reason, after seeing "The Wizard" again with older eyes, I just somehow didn't feel like video games for the time being. I wanted to get out and physically do something. Take some real action with my life. It was a few days before I picked up a Game Boy.


And as I was playing my usual round of "Tetris" and was trying to break my old record, I was singing quietly to myself, "He's A Nintendo Wizard..."


--Still A Game Boy, Dane Youssef


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YOU CAN MAKE A LOT OF MONEY IN THE STRIPPING GAME

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 8 August 2010 10:17 (A review of The Players Club)

by Dane Youssef


And in the film industry. But the movies about the stripping game don't seem to. They never seem to be well-made, or even much fun. Why not? What's going on here? The characters and plot are so non-existent, they fall under the category of pornos without sex.


And who wants to see that?


Such cinema on the art form as "Showgirls" and "Striptease" made one wish the makers had followed pornography by example and not tried to have a plot. Multi-Razzie-winning schlockola only to be enjoyed only on the late-night UHF channel 93 super-cheese corn Ed Wood, Jr. level.


Good readers, take a deeeeep breath of relief that "The Players Club" has a slightly higher-quality of strip than glitzy dives like "Showgirls" and "Striptease." Not quite the British Oscar contender level of "The Full Monty," but not quite a "Striptease."


Written and directed by old-school rap superstar Ice Cube, "The Players Club" is a posh, yet harsh feature dealing with women needing big money really fast and undergo a whole lifestyle change in order to get it. Stripping changes who they are all over.


But hey--everybody needs money. Everyone wants to make more. That's the point of money. Even if you're Donald Trump, every single dollar there is... just isn't enough. We've all heard of the girl who turns trick in order as a last resort.


There are women who get into stripping 'cause they want the worship, the adoration. To control every man in the room--and her career.

But there are those who just need to make a lot of money really, really fast. When we meet Diana (LisaRaye), she's just had a fight with her father over which college she should go to. He throws her out. She leans on a guy for support. He gives her more than that. He gives her a child. Then he leaves with nothing.


A single black woman raising a baby on her own with no means. Such a sad, familiar story. So familiar, it makes it all the sadder.


To make ends meet, she gets a job at a thrift shoe-shop. Some strippers come in and tell her there are ways of making more money--much, much more. And in high demand. You're in charge of your career, your clientele, yourself. Diana is suddenly in charge of her own life--and may have all the means she needs.


The club that comes recommended by the strippers is "The Players Club," a ritzy posh gentleman's club it Atlanta, run by a pimp daddy named Dollar Bill. The place is always hopping like a hornytoad on hop with the kind of people you would like to get to know.


"Players" has a lot of the same gimmicks as "Striptease." One can only wonder... did The Ice Man see that movie... just before he wrote up this?


Big black contenders, buddies of the Iceman pop up. The reliable likes of Bernie Mac, Jamie Foxx, John Amos, Fazion Love, A.J. Johnson, Terrence Howard, Big Boy, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister and Michael Clark Duncan.


A lot of this is pretty warmed-over. But despite the blaxploitation roots and intentions, "Players Club" boasts and A-list cast and production values, thanks to the powerful status name of The Ice Cube and New Line Cinema.


LisaRaye gets a C-plus in her lead debut. Cube is quoted as saying he hired some fresh-face newbie actress so as his debut as filmmaker would be the important part, not a big name star-vehicle where the star names get all the notice.


Also green is Chrystale Wilson, making an ideal villainess as Ronnie. In scene after scene, she defines the "dominatrix." And as it goes without saying, the dominatrix dominates her every scene. Now THIS is blaxploitation.

Ronnie is another grand larceny scene-stealer that falls under the old movie saying of "the villains have the most fun--and ARE the most fun."

Bernie Mac takes this comic relief and makes it a plum. In the rich role of Dollar Bill, here is a man who is a club owner dressed like a pimp Don King (which is redundant), speaking like with a lot of philosophical wisdom that one picks up on the street, from the school of hard knocks. Business-wise, deep, yet ghetto.


Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx of "Ray" fame got his start in the biz as a stand-up comic and here as the solid supporting man love interest, the club's DJ Blue, it might've served him (and the freakin' movie) had he had dug up some of his archive bits from his "Def Jam" days.


You wouldn't think the DJ at a strip club would be especially important (Bill even tells Blue that to his face at one point), but he proves to be the very thing that Diana needs--even pulling it all together in the final act.


John Amos and Faizon Love are a buddy cop-pair have that Mutt-and-Jeff shtick going with Amos playing it straight and Love going for laughs. Amos as the ultimate hard cop, never coming close to smiling.


I really did enjoy this more than the last two "Friday" movies and Cube's "All About The Benjamins."


The Iceman himself has a running bit part as Reggie, a one of the regulars at "The Player's Club"--a hired thug and dabbles in some recreational crime for his own sake, like soliciting sex. He's friends with Clyde and Ronnie's brother, Junior.


Though there are times when Cube's stuff feels tired, his stuff underdeveloped. He's credited also as executive producer, which I think means he green-lit his own project. Sometimes, it pays to have an objective eye. Couldn't Cube's old director from "Boyz 'N' The Hood" John Singelton have come on down to give his former "Doughboy" some sage filmmaking advice?


The best thing "The Players Club" does is make a lot of its characters colorful and eccentric while keeping a lot of them fairly human. Cube tries to juggle, not making it a specific genre--but a "life film." His movie is comedy, drama, thriller, and action flick...


"Players" has Mr. Ice donning the solo hat here--as screenwriter, executive producer, director and supporting actor. The likes of Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch did all this. What made them so special? They could.


No classic, no picture belonging on the AFI's 100 Best, no one's absolute favorite of all time. But still worth seeing.


If no else, after seeing this one, you're sure of two things: stripping is a profession that pays big for a reason--there are rites of passage and perils.


You may never think the same again when you hit the strip joints, offer up that dollar you're waving into the air... and just who it goes to.


Despite it's blaxploitation roots, "Player's Club" mostly tries to sidestep a lot of opportunities to exploit or go for the really campy crap that helped earlier "white-stripper" movies get some viewers. But there's some camp here and there--all unintentional, I'm sure. The Cube ain't Spike Lee.


I wish Cube's partner-in-crime Chris Tucker from "Friday" would've popped-up at some point. Tucker is on par with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence as a comic presence.


He's such talent, he's can bring even the deadest scene to life. Ol' Smokey nearly made "Friday" a must-see, he could've made this all the better.


There are times when Cube doesn't capture the energy he needs to. As director, he sometimes seems to be just recording. The camera is on auto-pilot rather than capturing a mood.


And blaxploitation is still alive, still thriving...


--A Believer in Big, Bad Black Cinema, Dane Youssef


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YOU CAN MAKE A LOT OF MONEY IN THE STRIPPING GAME

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 8 August 2010 10:16 (A review of The Players Club)

by Dane Youssef


And in the film industry. But the movies about the stripping game don't seem to. They never seem to be well-made, or even much fun. Why not? What's going on here? The characters and plot are so non-existent, they fall under the category of pornos without sex.


And who wants to see that?


Such cinema on the art form as "Showgirls" and "Striptease" made one wish the makers had followed pornography by example and not tried to have a plot. Multi-Razzie-winning schlockola only to be enjoyed only on the late-night UHF channel 93 super-cheese corn Ed Wood, Jr. level.


Good readers, take a deeeeep breath of relief that "The Players Club" has a slightly higher-quality of strip than glitzy dives like "Showgirls" and "Striptease." Not quite the British Oscar contender level of "The Full Monty," but not quite a "Striptease."


Written and directed by old-school rap superstar Ice Cube, "The Players Club" is a posh, yet harsh feature dealing with women needing big money really fast and undergo a whole lifestyle change in order to get it. Stripping changes who they are all over.


But hey--everybody needs money. Everyone wants to make more. That's the point of money. Even if you're Donald Trump, every single dollar there is... just isn't enough. We've all heard of the girl who turns trick in order as a last resort.


There are women who get into stripping 'cause they want the worship, the adoration. To control every man in the room--and her career.


But there are those who just need to make a lot of money really, really fast. When we meet Diana (LisaRaye), she's just had a fight with her father over which college she should go to. He throws her out. She leans on a guy for support. He gives her more than that. He gives her a child. Then he leaves with nothing.


A single black woman raising a baby on her own with no means. Such a sad, familiar story. So familiar, it makes it all the sadder.


To make ends meet, she gets a job at a thrift shoe-shop. Some strippers come in and tell her there are ways of making more money--much, much more. And in high demand. You're in charge of your career, your clientele, yourself. Diana is suddenly in charge of her own life--and may have all the means she needs.


The club that comes recommended by the strippers is "The Players Club," a ritzy posh gentleman's club it Atlanta, run by a pimp daddy named Dollar Bill. The place is always hopping like a hornytoad on hop with the kind of people you would like to get to know.


"Players" has a lot of the same gimmicks as "Striptease." One can only wonder... did The Ice Man see that movie... just before he wrote up this?


Big black contenders, buddies of the Iceman pop up. The reliable likes of Bernie Mac, Jamie Foxx, John Amos, Fazion Love, A.J. Johnson, Terrence Howard, Big Boy, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister and Michael Clark Duncan.


A lot of this is pretty warmed-over. But despite the blaxploitation roots and intentions, "Players Club" boasts and A-list cast and production values, thanks to the powerful status name of The Ice Cube and New Line Cinema.


LisaRaye gets a C-plus in her lead debut. Cube is quoted as saying he hired some fresh-face newbie actress so as his debut as filmmaker would be the important part, not a big name star-vehicle where the star names get all the notice.


Also green is Chrystale Wilson, making an ideal villainess as Ronnie. In scene after scene, she defines the "dominatrix." And as it goes without saying, the dominatrix dominates her every scene. Now THIS is blaxploitation.


Ronnie is another grand larceny scene-stealer that falls under the old movie saying of "the villains have the most fun--and ARE the most fun."


Bernie Mac takes this comic relief and makes it a plum. In the rich role of Dollar Bill, here is a man who is a club owner dressed like a pimp Don King (which is redundant), speaking like with a lot of philosophical wisdom that one picks up on the street, from the school of hard knocks. Business-wise, deep, yet ghetto.


Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx of "Ray" fame got his start in the biz as a stand-up comic and here as the solid supporting man love interest, the club's DJ Blue, it might've served him (and the freakin' movie) had he had dug up some of his archive bits from his "Def Jam" days.


You wouldn't think the DJ at a strip club would be especially important (Bill even tells Blue that to his face at one point), but he proves to be the very thing that Diana needs--even pulling it all together in the final act.


John Amos and Faizon Love are a buddy cop-pair have that Mutt-and-Jeff shtick going with Amos playing it straight and Love going for laughs. Amos as the ultimate hard cop, never coming close to smiling.


I really did enjoy this more than the last two "Friday" movies and Cube's "All About The Benjamins."


The Iceman himself has a running bit part as Reggie, a one of the regulars at "The Player's Club"--a hired thug and dabbles in some recreational crime for his own sake, like soliciting sex. He's friends with Clyde and Ronnie's brother, Junior.


Though there are times when Cube's stuff feels tired, his stuff underdeveloped. He's credited also as executive producer, which I think means he green-lit his own project. Sometimes, it pays to have an objective eye. Couldn't Cube's old director from "Boyz 'N' The Hood" John Singelton have come on down to give his former "Doughboy" some sage filmmaking advice?


The best thing "The Players Club" does is make a lot of its characters colorful and eccentric while keeping a lot of them fairly human. Cube tries to juggle, not making it a specific genre--but a "life film." His movie is comedy, drama, thriller, and action flick...


"Players" has Mr. Ice donning the solo hat here--as screenwriter, executive producer, director and supporting actor. The likes of Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch did all this. What made them so special? They could.


No classic, no picture belonging on the AFI's 100 Best, no one's absolute favorite of all time. But still worth seeing.


If no else, after seeing this one, you're sure of two things: stripping is a profession that pays big for a reason--there are rites of passage and perils.


You may never think the same again when you hit the strip joints, offer up that dollar you're waving into the air... and just who it goes to.


Despite it's blaxploitation roots, "Player's Club" mostly tries to sidestep a lot of opportunities to exploit or go for the really campy crap that helped earlier "white-stripper" movies get some viewers. But there's some camp here and there--all unintentional, I'm sure. The Cube ain't Spike Lee.


I wish Cube's partner-in-crime Chris Tucker from "Friday" would've popped-up at some point. Tucker is on par with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence as a comic presence.

He's such talent, he's can bring even the deadest scene to life. Ol' Smokey nearly made "Friday" a must-see, he could've made this all the better.


There are times when Cube doesn't capture the energy he needs to. As director, he sometimes seems to be just recording. The camera is on auto-pilot rather than capturing a mood.


And blaxploitation is still alive, still thriving...


--A Believer in Big, Bad Black Cinema, Dane Youssef


danessf@yahoo.com

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