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Overall Rating
4.15

Awesome55.77%
Worth A Look: 23.08%
Average: 3.85%
Pretty Bad: 15.38%
Total Crap: 1.92%

2 reviews, 40 user ratings


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Brothers, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"A bad relative of Black cinema."
2 stars

Right now, African-Americans are probably the most under-represented and underutilized group of performers (writing, directing, acting) being used in film. It is much easier to find an art house theater showing a run of Iranian or Korean films than it is to find a single African-American one. I cannot speak of underground productions, simply because I don't know if such a movement is underway aside from some gangster/rapper movies ("I'm 'Bout It" or "Godmoney"), but surely there have to be others being made. What disappoints me is when there is a movie that assembles a talented group with a movie that will be noticed, but ends up embarrassing itself because the stereotype it plays into (especially when, as a group, they act offended by it), and the amateurism of those in charge of it. "The Brothers" does just that.

The story centers around four long-time friends: Brian (Bill Bellamy) is tired of "psychotic" black women, so is cutting them out of his diet, only dating white women (Julie Benz); Derrick (D.L. Hughley) can't get his wife (Tamala Jones) to "give him head"; Terry (Shemar Moore) is a promiscuous guy, and decides out of the blue to get married to Bebe (Susan Dalian); and Jackson (Morris Chesnut), a man afraid of commitments once the sex and physicality is no longer fun in the relationship. Then he ends up meeting Denise (Gabrielle Union) who wants to teach him that he can be imtimate and commit without compromising himself.

Throughout the course of the movie, a wedge is continually spread between the boys, and their own personal problems persist. Instead of handling the problems in a serious manner (not that lack of oral sex is a serious problem), they are all played out for spastic-comedy effects. Let's find similar ways to perpetually embarrass and ridicule and sensationalize these characters more and more. It is completely obvious that by the end, the rift between the others will be resolved, the loose ends fused together, and a superficial "happy" deducement.

It would be easy enough to consider this an ample comedy if it weren't for the fact that "The Brothers" carries along baggage with it. Although the characters themselves aren't what I would consider outright racist, they say some awfully offensive things, and had this been the other way around, a movie about causcasians bashing on blacks, or Asians, etc., it would be viewed as racism and bigotry --at least in the contemporary milieu it is set in. The ulterior agenda, like other black movies we've seen, derides black men for dating white women, or moreover "stealing" their men. The women characters say things such as, "If she's not black, she's white." Hawaiian? "White woman with a tan." Latino? "White woman with a taco." They take a white female character and turn her into a repetitive joke (albeit the "Buffy the Negro Slayer" line was funny), and they take everything to the extremities. Given, the black characters becomes just as much of a caricature as the others, labeled and represented by obstreperous behavior, comments and actions; but these characters/caricatures are still presented as being okay for doing that. Domestic violence is made light of and dismissed, and it is hard to take anything serious that this movie vocalizes something else.

"The Brothers" stereotypes itself into other black films, but it lacks the mateurity of other films to separate itself into its own identity as a film. Why do all black characters have to be presented as boisterous, loud, stand-up comics? "The Best Man" or "lovejones" or any other number of films make them out to be what they are: just normal people --normal as everyone else. Those films don't find it necessary to bring pretentious and ridiculous attention to themselves, and when there are movies that do, like "Friday" or "House Party" or "Blue Streak," they are doing so strictly in comedic terms. They are not trying to falsely trying to be serious and ribald all at once. Even though "The Brothers" has females characters highly into liberation themselves, like "Waiting to Exhale," it is mocked and made fun of in a double standard: the guys make jokes about the aforementioned movie (The sequel to "Exhale": "Breath Bitch, Phew!") and make the women into artificial jokes ("I reject my pussy"/ "Since you reject yours, can I have it? I could use two.").

The biggest problem is that "The Brothers" doesn't know what direction to go in. It wants to be taken seriously, but then it acts like it wants to be a satire. Then it turns into a scabrous comedy, and so on. Tamala Jones (who I thought was the most talented in this entire group, though Union was also very good) asks her husband if he is going to encourage his daughter to "go down" on guys [when young], and he responds, "Yeah, as soon as I tell her giving head doesn't cause cancer." And the women are just as biased and hateful of "their own" men ("A man can't make his dick do what his heart won't") regardless if they are with black or white movie. "The Brothers" --both the movie, and the characters it focuses on-- is too confused on its own message story.

The writer/director Gary Hardwick is a newcomer, I presume. (The press kit spews off all of the books he has written, but mentions two movies as "entertainment credits" forgetting to mention what he had to do with them; and directing is out of the question, as I know "Bring It On" was directed by Peyton Reed.) Aside from the literary mentions, it also chronicles some of his stand-up past, which then comes as no surprise as far as an influence on "The Brothers." It is not very common to find a wide-range of African-American directors, and those like Hardwick I'm sure make it hard(er) for other directors to get a shot, because there are those that don't want to make them exclusively for black audiences. I tend to believe it is a bit limitation to direct your movie only to one specific ethnicity, but there isn't a good reason as to why they should not. (Anyway, believe it or not, the bulk of studio pictures seem to be directed at exclusively white audiences, but are marketed towards all for box-office potential.) But otherwise, we have very few George Tillman, Jr.s, Carl Franklins, Kasi Lemmons's (and a woman --even more uncommon), Malcolm D. Lees, Spike Lees, or Theodore Witchers. I'm sure there are more, but just these six I struggled to come up with, and that is not a positive sign. I understand that if the studios don't let hire new African-Americans as directors, there is no chance to seek out those who do have talent. At this point, that fine comb needs to be used more than ever, because this is not adequate.

Final Verdict: C-.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4937&reviewer=172
originally posted: 03/25/01 16:22:40
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User Comments

8/07/06 alexiss the only withe woman is a gorgeous blonde who kik the other woman ass very hard. wow! 4 stars
7/30/04 Kristy Tyrrell THIS MOVIE SHOW THE REAL MEANING OF TRUE FRIENSHIPS. 5 stars
7/07/04 Jessica Morris Chesnut is so damn sexy!!! 5 stars
10/31/03 Jai let the white folks know that aint always about them 5 stars
9/19/03 me morris chesnut is an a++++++ soooo sexy luck lady his wife is 5 stars
9/18/03 Tiffany The bomb. Whoa! Don't Morris look Good?! 5 stars
8/01/03 Golddie great movie 5 stars
3/01/03 ME A GREAT FILM 5 stars
1/03/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng I love this movie. Sweet and funny. Go D.L.! You rock! So does the rest of the cast. 5 stars
1/03/03 brittinie fish i luv morris chesnut 5 stars
12/10/02 Little Black Princess Morris is GORGEOUS. Who ever is the lucky ladyshe should be happy.( not just hs looks) 5 stars
12/09/02 ebony-sugar-n-spice The movie's highlight was actor Morris Chesnut. His acting skills shined. 4 stars
12/04/02 Norman He is a good looking brother 5 stars
11/17/02 me tight as fuck 5 stars
11/03/02 REMIE_RED I LOVE MORRIS CHESNUT.HE IS A GOOD ACTOR AND SURE AIN'T BAD TO LOOK AT.he is great to look 5 stars
7/18/02 Laura Chestnut Why y'all hatin on my man Morris?The movie can relate to ALL audiences. Black, white, 5 stars
5/25/02 jaquata kinnard this film was very good. 5 stars
5/23/02 Ms. Parker I have been a fan of Morris Chestnut since Boys N the Hood.Morris Chesnut is beautiful 5 stars
5/11/02 Reese I think that it was o.k.,but the way the women were portrayes pissed me off! 3 stars
3/10/02 Ms.Chesnut01 Dont Hate! Once my man Morris is up in it then you know #1 its hot 2 death and u want more. 5 stars
2/22/02 Kristi Morris Chesnut is sooooo beautiful!! *DROOL* 5 stars
1/12/02 LIL_BREAST I LOVE MORRIS CHESNUT.HE IS A GOOD ACTOR AND SURE AIN'T BAD TO LOOK AT.MMMM................ 5 stars
11/19/01 Nicole WAlker This shows that all black male aren't 5 stars
9/21/01 Cathy Mosley(Sexy302000) I LOVE IT(FOR THE CRITIC,IF YOU HAVEN'T LIVE THIS LIFE THEN YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND) 5 stars
9/04/01 MEA MEA FINE ASS NEGROS 5 stars
8/30/01 Monday Morning Bite on, brudder! 1 stars
8/22/01 Lil Shorty I don't how you talkin bout how this film is pretty bad.Don't hate cuz you can't relate. 5 stars
8/08/01 Sara It was good, but they shouldn't have shortend the movie like they did 4 stars
8/06/01 MONICA JOHNSON IT WAS GOOD, GLAD THAT YOU PICKED SEXY MEN TO PLAY THE ROLES 5 stars
7/19/01 Xiera could have used more professional writing & directing something just lacked... 3 stars
7/19/01 La'Shania sexy men in the movie 5 stars
4/25/01 Jane The picture stunk - mindless sex, vulgar language, no real rhyme or reason for it all 2 stars
4/04/01 suad ali funny and hilarious. worth seeing! 4 stars
4/02/01 Tiffany Chestnut all brothers in the US can yake a lesson from this movie-Stay true to your color! 5 stars
3/29/01 Stephie I really liked the movie. It's no "Best Man" or "love jones" but a good flick overall.. 4 stars
3/27/01 ender judging by the names of the other reviewers, i'd say they actually *liked* the stereotypes? 2 stars
3/27/01 Antoinette Motley The movie was excellent! Down to earth movie. 5 stars
3/27/01 Tariq The movie was funny and a wonderful chance to relax. 5 stars
3/26/01 Cheri Cofer-Tutt I really enjoyed the move. Regardless of what the critics say! 4 stars
3/25/01 Mart Dawg This movie was dope as hell, D.L was funny as fuck. it was a good date movie 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Mar-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  31-May-2001 (M)




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