The Brothers
dir-scr Gary Hardwick
with Morris Chestnut, Bill Bellamy, DL Hughley, Shemar Moore, Gabriel Union, Tamala Jones, Susan Dalian, Tatiana Ali, Julie Benz, Jenifer Lewis, Clifton Powell, Marla Gibbs
release US 23.Mar.01; UK 28.Sep.01
Screen Gems 01/US 1h42
1 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Yet another in the seemingly endless stream of African-American ensemble rom-coms ... and while it's efficiently made, there's nothing noteworthy about it at all. It's about four best buds, all successful professionals at the end of their 20s and facing up to serious romance for the first time. Jackson (Chestnut) has sworn off love and then meets his ideal woman (Union), who has a secret. Brian (Bellamy) has a sparky white girlfriend (Benz), which provokes rage from the black women around him. Derrick (Hughley) is having trouble seeing eye-to-eye with his wife (Jones). Wanton womaniser Terry (Moore) has shockingly decided to marry his girlfriend (Dalian). And there are other family wrinkles at every turn.

The story is so busy with all its various strands that we can hardly pay attention to anything really. There's no centre to the story, besides the heavy-handed message about settling down for What's Really Important. Otherwise it's spinning out in all directions encompassing parent-child issues, siblings, romantic histories, on-off relationships, and just a whiff of the racial issues involved. For a comedy it's far too serious; for a romance it's far too fragmented; for an ethnic drama it's far too unfocussed. So why was the film even made? (The bigger question is why it's getting a UK release!) Yes, it's all very slickly filmed in that anonymous Hollywood style, with a cast of gorgeous actors who don't really need to act when they look so pretty. But it just feels utterly pointless and unnecessary, especially when the schmaltz surges up and drowns everything at the end.
adult themes and situations, language cert 15 25.Sep.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall