Friday, May 15, 2015

Once You Go Black (Movie Thoughts: Chocolate City)

Okay, I get it. Everyone (including the characters in the movie) is saying that "Chocolate City" is the black "Magic Mike." They wish.  Magic Mike may not have been Soderbergh's best work, but it certainly was above par. "Chocolate City" is bad. It doesn't belong in the "so-bad-it's-good" category (it has miles to go before it becomes 'Showgirls')  Rather, I would put it under So-bad-it's-kinda-okay category.  First of all, there 's only a whisper of a plot here, and it's familiar: doting son needs money for his family so he turns into stripping. We've all seen these whore with a heart of gold movies. And Robert Ri'Chard, as Mike (get it?) may look like fine chocolate, but he is dead in t he eyes. As a male ingenue, Alex Pettyfer had miles more charisma. Tyson Beckford, as his nemesis, is just as bad, but his character suffers from being underwritten and having no motivation. Ri'Chard's character is all over the place, too. He goes from one scene being unsure about stripping to the next performing a dance number so intricate and well-prepared for that I endedup guffawing. And despite the stripping numbers being well choreographed, I found myself bored: there's no soul or edge to the numbers. The saving grace: the flippant tone of the movie. It doesn't take itself way too seriously, and a lot of scenes in the last quarter were hilarious: some intentional, some unintentional.  I suspect some of these scenes would be camp classics. And lastly, when did Vivica A Fox - in an over the top wig - start being so "motherly"?  This may be a case of once gong black, to (the original) Magic Mike you go back.

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