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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad66.67%
Total Crap: 11.11%

1 review, 3 user ratings

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How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired
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by Chris Parry

"Is there a sequel called How to Watch the Original Without Falling Asleep?"
2 stars

Here’s the storyline, as best as I can figure. Unemployed black guy in Montreal wants to be a novelist, so he taps on his typewriter on a park bench by day and screws white women by night. That’s the story. If that sounds like one of those 1970’s British sex farces, where the main character does nothing more than fall ass first into bed with every woman he sees, you’re not far off. The only difference here is racial, and for the most part I’m talking about far more than simply the color of the protagonist’s skin.

The main character, a man calling himself Man, spends all day with his constantly sleeping roommate, Bouba, with the two of them waxing lyrical about how white women are this and black women are that and this person serves that person and blah blah blah. From start to finish, as I listened to this seemingly informed diatribe about how racist everyone is, all I could think was ‘Dude, you’re so god-damned racist!” Apparently the book that the film was based on was intended to bust down the myth that all black men are obsessed with sex. Yet if there’s three minutes of this film where the main characters aren’t talking about it, attempting to get it or actually engaging in it, I missed them entirely. Man even gives his sexual conquests pet names, such as Miz Suicide, Miz Literature, and Miz Oh My God as he’s ‘not being obsessed with sex.’

And if you’re thinking this stuff isn’t racist at anyone but white folks, guess again. Black women are given short shrift (in fact, they don’t seem to exist in this world), when it’s explained that they “service both blacks and whites”, thus “nobody will service them”.

Great. I’m sure black women around the world will be applauding this deeply moving exploration of racial cliché. When the film was released in the US, it went under a variety of different titles in different cities, being as the NAACP objected to the use of the word ‘negro’. If they’d have bothered watching the actual movie, they might have objected to a lot more than that.

Particularly offensive (and stunningly unnecessary) are the group of white drug dealers who seem to shadow Man and his friends, doig nothing more than making idle threats and lashing them with racist remarks. What are we supposed to be doing, sympathizing with the main characters that their lives are made worse by these morons? We might if these morons were the slightest bit believable. Along the same lines, the middle aged man yelling racial obscenities for no reason at Man in an art gallery is so ridiculous and ill-considered that you’ll be unable to stop yourself from shaking your head and laughing out loud.

Isaach De Bankole, a mainstay in Jim Jarmusch fims such as Night on Earth and Ghost Dog, plays Man in much the same way that he plays anything – very well. In fact, De Bankole’s infectious laugh and general nature are the highlight of the film. That and all the poon he brings home.

But there’s only so much De Bankole can do with a screenplay that seems to think that we’re all in on the joke. Maybe in the early 80’s or late 70’s this kind of pseudo-arty pretentious racial generalization would go over well with the black turtleneck crowd, but today it seems to have aged about as well as shrimp. The look of the film is dark and blurry, the characters even darker (no pun intended) and less defined, and the story arc is essentially a straight line.

If the makers of this film were trying to push the boundaries they succeeded, only they pushed them backwards, not forwards. The viewer doesn’t come away excited, educated, moved or provoked, instead we get to the end of this tedium, check our watches and hope we can get down to the video store so we can rent something that might make us feel that we haven’t wasted an evening.

But hey, at least there’s nudity. And a very funny poster.

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originally posted: 11/03/02 09:34:15
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User Comments

5/16/06 Patrick Hampson I want my food stamps back! Nigger! 1 stars
7/18/03 James Fanning Rather than worrying about being "PC", enjoy the anti-racist irony of this film 4 stars
11/06/02 Mathieu Gariépy Critically acclaimed throughout the french speaking world (even in africa). 5 stars
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  08-Jun-1990 (R)


  08-Jun-1990 (MA)

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