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The Brothers

Starring Morris Chestnut, D.L. Hughley, Bill Bellamy, Shemar Moore, Tamala Jones,Gabrielle Union
Written and Directed by Gary Hardwick

IN SHORT: Buppie dateflick. [Rated R for Strong Sexual Content and Language. 93 minutes]

We usually save this disclaimer for later but we're putting it up front for obvious reasons: It has always been the position of this board to be totally honest with you when it comes to conflicts of things like race or class or sexual orientation. We do not believe that, since the ad pitch for The Brothers is aimed dead center at the African American community, that there is any reason to automatically assume that the film would have no interest to a nice white, Brooklyn born middle aged Jewish guy. Our point of view has always been: does the story work and do we understand it? Do we empathize with the characters and situations and do we come away entertained? Same rules apply for anything else we sit through. By these rules, The Brothers is hampered by the use of common slang or expressions in use in the Black community that we just don't follow. Once we get past that, the stories that fill the movie are based on things universal enough that any viewer can follow along and lock in, until the inevitable warm fuzzies that finish these kind of movies kick in.

The Brothers are Four, Black Urban Professionals all and all are approaching the imminent demographic barrier called the Big Three-Oh. Friends since single digit-hood, each week ends with a game of hoops at which they talk out their stuff while stuffing the ball. We start with Terry White (Shemar Moore) who, with the birthday imminent, is thinking adulthood and permanent responsibilities. His girlfriend Bebe (Susan Dalian) is a truly fine woman and Terry is ready to declare singular devotion and buy the ring. Derrick West (D.L. Hughley), married three years earlier, smiles to see another friend bite the dust even as his own marriage faces problems. Brian Palmer (Bill Bellamy), sworn to single-hood, tries to convince Terry that he's out of his mind and Dr. Jackson Smith (Morris Chestnut), who has just started seeing the equally fine Denise (Gabrielle Union), starts doing some serious thinking of his own. Denise may be the force for stability that Jackson needs, until he discovers that she and his estranged father Fred (Clifton Powell) once had a brief fling. That adds another couple of layers of stories to the movie, which keeps everything moving quickly and allows it to shift story focus often enough that it never lags.

The smart aspect of the script is that this is not a movie just about "the brothers". We get a full blast of opinion from the femme side of the equation, as the ladies evaluate their men and their men's behavior. Both sides argue the pros and cons of interracial dating. That means director Gary Hardwick's script does a delicate dance around a sensitive subject, one which could have given heavy duty drama to a film which, ultimately, intends to deliver the warm fuzzies. Nothing that can't be saved for another movie. An African-American dateflick is what The Brothers aims to be and that, pretty much, is what it is.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Brothers, he would have paid...


Guys in the audience should play close attention as the gals spill the ultimate test with which they determine if your love is true. If The Brothers succeeds and makes a fortune and is seen a lot, women will have to come up with something new. For now, (we've) got an inside line.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Gary Hardwick
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