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Why Do Fools Fall In Love

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Why Do Fools Fall In Love

Starring: Halle Berry, Vivica Fox
Director: Gregory Nava
Rated: R
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: August 1998
Genres: Drama, Music

*Also starring: Lela Rochon, Larenz Tate, Paul Mazursky, Little Richard, Pamela Reed, Ben Vereen

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

What could have been a caustic, witty farce becomes a sudsy soap opera as the life of a doo-wop singer of the '50s & '60s, Frankie Lymon, unfolds on the screen - as seen through the eyes of his three - count 'em - three widows. As the story begins, Frankie's dead and they're in court vying for a stake in his royalties. Each must prove to the judge why she is the rightful heiress. The first claimant is a glamorous, classy rhythm 'n' blues star (Halle Berry) who was singing with the Platters in 1955 when she became involved with Frankie (Larenz Tate). an up-and-coming teenage sensation from Harlem with a big hit record, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love." Their romance lasted until she went out on an extended foreign tour and he consoled himself with heroin. After becoming a crazed junkie, he fell in with a crass shoplifter (Viveca A. Fox) whom he impulsively married in Mexico. His third wife was a prissy Southern schoolteacher with admirable domestic skills (Lela Rochon), whom he met and married while he was in the Army. The narrative by screenwriter Tina Andrews is episodic and uneven, offering three "Roshomon-like" interpretations yet never delving deep enough into Frankie Lymon's real, erratic persona, and director Gregory Nava goes for gloss rather than grit - until the last 15 minutes when the disparate wannabe heiresses begin to bond over their mutual involvement with this bigamist - or trigamist. Utilizing Frankie Lymon's own music, as he recorded it, there are Golden Oldie tunes a-plenty and some amusing antics by Little Richard, who toured with Lymon. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" is an indulgent 4. Why did they make it so muddled? It could have been a black music biz's "First Wives Club."

Copyright 1998 Susan Granger

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