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Brown Sugar

2 Ratings: 0.5
A movie directed by Rick Famuyiwa

Rick Famuyiwa breathes a refreshing burst of air into the romantic comedy genre with BROWN SUGAR, a film that is as much a tribute to hip-hop as it is a celebration of friendship and love. Dre (Taye Diggs) and Sidney (Sanaa Lathan), best friends since … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Comedies
Cast: Boris Kodjoe
Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Release Date: 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
1 review about Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar: How Come You Taste so Bland?

  • Nov 20, 2003
Pros: Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan are attractive; Queen Latifah rules

Cons: slow, predictable, bad dialogue, unrealistic

The Bottom Line: Even Taye Diggs couldnÂ’t help this movie get its groove back.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

Watching Brown Sugar reminded me of driving to Connecticut. I’d gone that route so many times that I knew everything I was going to pass and exactly what I would find when I reached the end of the journey. It’s a relatively pleasant ride depending on the company you’re with and the choice of soundtrack, but the destination isn’t very exciting, nor is the trip there.

If you think that was a lame analogy, wait until you hear the central metaphor our protagonist Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) uses in this film. A young music journalist, Sidney is writing a book about her “love affair with hip-hop.” However, we learn in the first five minutes of the movie that “hip-hop” is synonymous with her best friend Dre (Taye Diggs). For some reason, the screenwriters decided it would be a good idea to include excerpts from the self-indulgent musings that make up the content of Sidney’s book as occasional narration.

Dre produces some of the music that Sidney writes about. This obvious conflict of interest is glossed over by the fact that both Sidney and Dre appreciate “pure” hip-hop, as opposed to the commercialized stuff that is marketed these days. Dre feels like a bit of a sell-out since he works for a huge record label that values money-making music over the good stuff. One rather hilarious part of the movie is this company’s latest gimmick: one white rapper and one black rapper, each dressed in Dalmatian print, doing a remake of “The Girl is Mine” as “The Ho is Mine.” Queen Latifah as Sidney’s roommate provides some comic relief, as well, but Brown Sugar wasn’t nearly as funny as it should have been overall.

After not seeing each other for a long time, the best friends meet up at a posh, music industry party during the first five minutes of the movie. Dre surprises Sidney by introducing her to his new flame Reese (Nicole Ari Parker) to whom he is going to propose that night. Sidney is visibly crushed, but she supports her friend. It is painfully obvious from this first scene that the rest of the movie will lead up to the friends finally realizing that they were meant to be together. This could have happened in about 20 minutes, but the movie drags on for nearly two hours.

Sidney and Dre are cute together, but where is the passion? I found the acting to be far too understated and the conversations too whispery and subdued. You’d probably get just as much out of this film if you watched it on mute since the two leads are extremely attractive, but their dialogue is pretty abysmal. I found myself being able to predict exactly what was going to happen next.

One line that made me laugh out loud was when Sidney is on a date with Kelby (Boris Kodjoe), a forward for the New Jersey Nets. They sit on her couch awkwardly drinking coffee until Sidney asks, “So, should we have sex now?” This scene and Kelby’s entire courtship of Sidney struck me as incredibly unrealistic. After meeting Sidney for an interview, Kelby asks Sidney out on a date by filling her entire apartment with roses.

Another part of this movie that seemed extremely unlikely was the character of Chris, played by rapper Mos Def. Dre discovers this “real MC” at an open mic night and wants to sign him to his label. Chris refuses to sell out even though he works as a cab driver.

Even though I thought Brown Sugar was horrible, I didn’t change the channel, so something about it must have been at least mildly compelling.


Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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