16 May 2002 | BlackJack_B
The black man version of "Striptease" mixed with "The A-Team"
Ice Cube probably will never be as revered or respected as much as his cohort, the late Tupac Shakur, when it comes to rapping or acting, but he's getting there. I liked his performances in Friday, Next Friday, Three Kings, and especially in Boyz 'N The Hood. Now the Cube attempts to direct a film, and this is his first project.
Every Black American I've known has seen this movie; they have pride in seeing their brothers make films. Although this one is not great; it's watchable and it's quite good in spots.
The story is about a young lady named Diana who comes from a well-off family. She had a child out of wedlock. Her parents want her to go to their alma mater, but she wants to go to another school that the parents disapprove. They get into a big fight, so she leaves them to go to her university of choice. Of course, she doesn't have enough money to go to school and raise her child, so she decides to become an exotic dancer at a black club. The club is owned by a man who is in big trouble with loan sharks.
Later, a cousin comes to visit for the summer, and seeing Diana working there, decides to get a job there, too. Unfortunately, Ebony is drawn to the seediness of the people, and Diana must monitor her closely, because she's underage (18-19)
Of course, all the usual stereotypes are here, the fat stripper who's booed of the stage, the outlandish show-offy dancers, the slow-witted stalkers, just like how it was done in "Striptease", but it's not played for laughs. There is one funny scene in which the loan sharks stick Jamie Foxx's head in the car and drive around with him still on his feet when he tells them he doesn't know where the club owner (Bernie Mac) is.
The acting is either weak or over-the-top. LisaRaye, as Diana, is not a good actress, but she does look good. The others are either weak as well or go way overboard. The ambience, though, is quite good. The direction is decent, but the script is filled with cliches and other Black sayings that have been done to death.
Why did I compare it with the A-Team? Despite the extreme violence stemming from beatings, arson, assaults, etc. no one dies! Just like how The A-Team and the bad guys have balletic shoot-outs, no man is ever shot and killed. Not a single person is killed in this film, which at least is a positive thing; that every one gets a second chance to amend themselves. If you're a fan of Ice Cube; this isn't bad, but I'd rent it on the cheap if you've seen everything else.