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The Brothers (2001)
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Review Date: March 19, 2001
Director: Gary Hardwick
Writer: Gary Hardwick
Producers: Paddy Cullin, Darin Scott
Actors:
Morris Chestnut
Shemar Moore
D.L. Hughley
Bill Bellamy
Plot:
Four young, successful, black professionals are closing in on the big "30" and contemplating the direction of their respective love lives.
Critique:
Yet another early year puff piece which doesn't try to innovate, give us anything new or blow us away with anything out of the ordinary. In other words, check it out on video, if interested. This movie's got a few laughs, one or two clever lines here and there, but mostly just the same ol', same ol'. In fact, now that I look back at the film, I can't remember anything especially distinct or interesting about it. And that's despite the fact that I could relate entirely to all of the lead characters' issues in the film, seeing as I'm going through most of the exact same things right now. But the story just didn't do much for me. It's basically just a bunch of scenes spliced together to make "a movie". Some mediocre acting here and there, some groovy tunes tossed all around and a few shots of sweet boot-ay, but nothing to write to momma about. In fact, even though most of the lead characters in the film are played pretty well by the boys who are "the brothers", you simply don't get attached to any them because there are just too many characters in the film as a whole. And seeing that the dramatic scenes in the movie don't work as well as the comedic ones, with many of the transitions feeling forced and awkward, you're essentially left with a film which looks and feels like an okay comedy, but delivers one too many "corny" moments as a drama. But I will give it up to the many jokes which did work in this movie. D.L. Hughley's scenes alone cracked me up throughout, especially the ones in which he and his wife went back and forth on blowjobs. Now that was funny! But the development of their relationship, the separation and their eventual resolution all felt kinda distant to me. Mostly cause we just didn't get to know the characters all that well.

A perfect example of the film's unevenness is during one scenario in which one character is shooting a gun into a house, and even though it's initially treated as a joke, it's suddenly turned serious, and the whole thing just feels "off". And the final resolutions for all "the brothers" are just resolved too swiftly, like the screenplay couldn't go over a certain amount of pages, and they needed to wrap them all up. Director Gary Hadwick has dubbed this film "Refusing to Exhale", an obvious play on the very successful drama "Waiting to Exhale", but I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing (check out the similar posters too). This movie's got some nice elements going for it, like Shemar Moore's awesome six-pack, many laughs sprinkled throughout and a few clever insights. But unfortunately, all that doesn't make up for the fact that the film basically covers a lot of the stuff we've already seen a thousand times, the fact that the drama/comedy balance is not played out well and the fact that the ending is wrapped up too quickly. I certainly wouldn't tell you to stay away from this one on home video, but even then, don't expect the messiah to come out of your TV screen and change your life. A sub-par entry into the growing market of black professional films, this one doesn't come across as a step up as much as it does a simple step sideways.

Then again, I ain't really this film's target audience, so don't be afraid to tell me to piss off, if this is your cup o' tea... ;) And hey, if you wanna go see it just to google all over Shemar Moore and Morris Chestnut's rippin' abs, don't let me stop you. In fact, both muscular regions scored very high in my books. Damn, I wish I worked out more...
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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