Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 23 November 2008
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Love, And Other Four Letter Words
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
Stormy’s successful show has just been nationally syndicated. She’s a work-obsessed, Type-A personality with no time for relationships, with an assistant/best friend Roxanne (Essence Atkins) and a predatory producer Carrie (Mary Linda Phillips) who would love to have Stormy’s job. When a call from Aunt Gigi (Juanita Jennings) notifies her that her grandmother’s death is imminent, Stormy flies to Montgomery, Alabama to see a hospitalized “Nana” (Aloma Wright) ailing from septic poisoning due to a hole in her intestine. A stuttering doctor (Steven Hack) informs her that Nana has only one week to live. Nothing like having to wait for bad news from a sputtering, hesitant medical professional.
Nana has only one regret, and that is that she won’t live long enough to see her “favorite grandbaby” have a family of her own. Code word: get a man. Where have we heard that before? A woman without a man cannot be expected to be complete, so extreme measures must be taken to pair up the unfortunate female with some guy, any guy so that the appearance is not one of (gasp) spinsterhood: that living death, like a big fat grade of “F” on a woman’s report card of life experiences.
Stormy concocts a fictional engagement and wedding on the spot for Nana’s benefit, to take place in six weeks. The old woman is happy for the moment and Stormy believes she has given comfort to the dying, with no way to get caught in her lie. That would not be any fun, now would it? Complications abound, starting with Nana’s miraculous recovery, Roxanne’s bright idea about videotaping Stormy’s fictional wedding, the procurement of a fake groom, male stripper Rene (Marcus Patrick) and the appearance of Preacher Arnold Peterson (Flex Alexander) a former childhood friend. Do I have to tell you that the Preacher is now model-gorgeous and has always had a crush on Stormy?
Nana is eighty years old and has never left Alabama, so Stormy makes the sham marriage take place in Chicago to prevent an in-person appearance, but Nana’s newfound health allows her to travel, so she’s coming. Add to this two snoopy cousins who are jealous of Stormy: Lucille (Tasha Smith) and Frida (Sandy Brown). They live to discredit her to Nana and are hot on the trail of her fake fiancé and strange behavior. When everyone converges on the Windy City for Stormy’s wedding day, there are plenty of misconceptions still in place.
Most of the cast is good looking to the point of fashion layout potential. I forgive the over-abundance of eye candy, for without that, American audiences seem to forget that there is potential to love based on other characteristics.
Tangi Miller, also one of the film’s producers, can be overly dramatic as the aptly named Stormy LaRue, but brings a believable devotion to her performance that makes her irrational actions understandable more often than not. Essence Atkins is a delight to watch as the upbeat, ever-optimistic assistant with a can-do attitude. Flex Alexander’s Preacher can give the male stripper a run for his money as the good looking Man of God. Marcus Patrick as the money hungry stripper is perfect as the one-note piece of meat with a price for everything. Aloma Wright’s Nana is just as intrusive as she should be without overstepping her relationship with her beloved granddaughter.
Special kudos to Tasha Smith and Sandy Brown as Stormy’s troublemaking cousins. These two steal every single scene they’re in, keeping any overly sentimental moments at bay. A movie based solely on these two characters would find an enthusiastic audience of its own.
Director Steven Ayromlooi (Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood) showcases Chicago’s famous skyline and several recognizable locations (Millennium Park, The Loop). Also shot on location in Montgomery, Alabama, the film has a polished, scenic quality that makes locations look like they are idealized postcard compositions. Ayromlooi avoids slapstick situations (there are some in the strip club, though) in favor of humor thrust through serious emotion and filtered through ridiculous circumstances.
Writer Mandel Howard’s (The Other Brother) sophomore effort relies heavily on a formula plot that you can see on the horizon without binoculars, but he infuses his characters with smart, humorous words and actions that can distract you on the familiar journey enough to find that you’re having a good time. Who doesn’t love a wedding? I’ll leave you to discover whether this one turns out to be real or fake – both four letter words themselves.