Saturday, February 6, 2016
A THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE & HATE (1996)
Story & Directed By: Martin Lawrence
Written By: Martin Lawrence, Kim Bass, Kenny Buford & Bentley Kyle Evans
Cinematography By: Francis Kenny
Editor: John Carter
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Regina King, Lynn Whitfield, Della Reese, Malinda Williams, Bobby Brown, Tracy Morgan, Daryl Mitchell, Roger E. Mosely, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Faizon Love, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Tony “Tiny” Lister
An observable, fast-talking party man Darnell Wright, gets his punishment when one of his conquests takes it personally and comes back for revenge in this 'Fatal Attraction'-esque comic thriller.
I thought his film was a hit. It was at the middle of his stardom and seems to be the film that telegraphed his downfall.
As this film wasn't watered down or silly as his other films that seemed more aimed at general audiences. This film is definitely more for adults and taps into his sense of humor like his stand up. That some might find a little blue
The film is enjoyable as it seems more dramatic and thriller that has a sense of humor, but stays in a more dark mood.
Martin Lawrence stars, directs and co-wrote the film. Which might prove to be a bit too much. As the film switches between tone and genre fine. The problem is that he film never feels rooted into anything such as the characters or even the situations and scenes. They fly by so fast before you can really get a feel of anything. The scenes linger a little too long especially in scenes that are more dramatic. That feel like overkill and being over dramatic. Which the dialogue doesn't help.
Though he doesn't do badly. It feels it might have been too much. As it's not quite the big budgeted debacle as fellow comedian Eddie Murphy's directorial debut HARLEM NIGHTS. This production is small enough to be an interesting fit. As it truly differs from most of the films on his resume. It is also a role he had to write and direct himself as most in Hollywood would never cast him int he playboy type of role.
The film is a good time, but doesn't offer anything new and seems to become episodic I between it's main story line. As usually these plot threads really go nowhere, but at least they ground us into Lawrence's character life a bit more.
It is easy to write this off as a black comedic version of fatal attraction and to a degree it is, but it is also it's own creation. While if you are a fan of Martin Lawrence the comedian. You will see and hear a bunch of jokes he has done before.
The film tries to make the audience take a look at the false promises ladies men give women and how it might come to affect these women as we see the aftermath. The problem is that instead of exploring that story line and psychology more deeply. The film takes a far easier route and just has the woman be psycho almost form the get go. So being burned by him leads to an easy, hop, skip and jump into stalking him and going crazy. Where as if she had been sane and we see how he turned her crazy. That would be a breath of fresh air and not make his character so heroic and likeable and somewhat deserving of the audiences sympathy. Where as if the film had gone the more dramatic psychological route. It would have challenged the actors more and make us question out loyalties as both don't deserve the level of troubles they get into. Though would leave very little room for comedy. Then again that might have turned the audience off as it would be more of a challenge rather then entertainment.
What keeps the film interesting is that while it goes for a seasoned playboy falling for his prey. Though then at the same time falling for the good girl he should have always been with. That either ending could have provided salvation for the character. It's just as he was falling for one the other came along and he made a choice that dooms him to a degree. Even if it some scenes are heavy handed. As well as the gestures. As no one was longing for a Martin Lawrence love scene, not played for laughs. Also of all the times he decides to not show up and break his promise to Lynn Whitfield's character is on her birthday. Which magnifies the melodrama and her actions.
Though again in this film Martin Lawrence seems to be his most natural and his character doesn't feel as much as a put on or stretch for him. Like in the film BLACK KNIGHT where he seems to old and too smart to still be a scamming janitor at an amusement park.
The ending seems especially ridiculous as it seems more like the end of a police procedural episode rather than a movie.