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The Brothers

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Brothers

Starring: Bill Bellamy, D.L. Hughley
Director: Gary Hardwick
Rated: R
RunTime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: March 2001
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Morris Chestnut, Tatyana Ali, Tamala Jones, Gabrielle Union, Susan Dalian, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Jenifer Lewis, Clifton Powell

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Gary Hardwick, the writer of the awful TRIPPIN' from two years ago, is back with his second film, THE BROTHERS, which he writes and directs. Although it is infinitely better than his first attempt, it isn't much of a movie. A lightweight comedy which surrounds some clichés about the need to respect women, it does have the occasional laugh and is filled with strikingly beautiful, wealthy people possessing great bodies and the right revealing clothes to show them off.

The story concerns four lifelong black friends who have always had a problem with women in general and commitment in particular. As the movie starts, their shared belief is that black women come with unwanted kids and too much blubber. "It's like they're giving out government cheese sandwiches with babies," one of them remarks. Women who have all of the sex that they want are derided as "'hos," while guys doing the same earn major bragging rights. Terry White (Shemar Moore), the buffest of our group of four, is attacked in his office by a temp who starts stripping and throwing herself at him, pinning him to the wall. Sure.

Lawyer Brian Palmer (Bill Bellamy), who makes the mistake of dating a white woman who knows karate, gets the least screen time. The real star of the film and the best looking one of the bunch is Jackson Smith, played by Morris Chestnut. Jackson's divorced parents, played by Jenifer Lewis and Clifton Powell, also get to tell their story.

The seeming odd man out is Derrick West (D.L. Hughley), who is the only married man in the group. It turns out that he only married his wife, Sheila (Tamala Jones), because she got pregnant and insisted on marriage, or so he claims. He and his wife end up separating because of his firmly held belief that getting oral sex is his right as a husband.

The movie, which the director says that he likes to think of as REFUSING TO EXHALE, gives the guys great looking women to spurn. They, of course, will end up realizing what they are missing. Jackson, for example, starts, stops and then starts again dating a woman called Denise Johnson (Gabrielle Union) who possesses jaw-dropping beauty. Eventually Jackson will remark to one of his buddies, "This world is filled with amazin' women waiting for brothers like us who have got it together." A nice platitude. The movie rarely rises much above that level.

THE BROTHERS runs 1:40. It is rated R for strong sexual content and language and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes

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