By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –
Darius is a Chicago area poet dating a photographer, Nina. Their relationship is followed through all of its bumps and bruises, as the two converse with their friends to figure out just how they can know whether they are falling in love.
First time filmmaker Theodore Witcher crafts a sensitive, humorous film about the relationship process, with a distinctive style that, had he chosen to direct any other features, may have been the beginning of an insightful film career. The film focuses on the advice friends give during relationships, and the impact this advice can have on burgeoning romance. His only feature to date, writer-director Witcher nonetheless seems quite comfortable trusting his audience with smart dialog and subtle humor. It is a pleasure to see a romantic comedy from an African-American filmmaker who doesn’t talk down to his audience.
Pictured above: mediocrity defined…
There are no moments where artificial melodrama is shoehorned into the story. Instead, Love Jones features well drawn three dimensional characters whose decisions make sense based on their personalities. Actors Larenz Tate and Nia Long have genuine chemistry together, making their characters’ relationship one that the audience can actually root for. The film features poetry slams in a Jazz club, a unique setting that gives the film a feel distinctive from every other romantic comedy on the market.
Some unusual camera set ups and slightly clumsy editing flaws can sometimes throw off the movie’s momentum, but as it was the director’s first film, this is forgivable. The major gripe of the film is in the ending, which makes a last second turn towards Hollywood. It feels out of place in a movie otherwise fairly grounded in reality. With that said, I’m also a cynical bastard.
Take one of these
A promising first film from a director who needs to consider making another.
Take a Drink: for each poetry slam
Take a Drink: for wishy-washing decision making
Take a Shot: for the Hollywood ending