The Brothers

The latest in the welcome subgenre of upscale African-American films (The Wood, The Best Man, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) is The Brothers, a likable story about four friends suffering from early mid-life crises. Not only are these guys upscale (including a doctor and a lawyer) but these guys (and their girlfriends) combine to form probably the most photogenic cast of recent memory. Hey, where's Taye Diggs? Oh well. The problem they have is that for all their success, looks, and money, they cannot seem to find love. Only two of the four protagonists really matter. The other two act as sounding boards and comic relief.

Terry (Shemar Moore, Celebrity, The Young and the Restless) is getting married. He is changing his ways from a player to a one-woman man. This shocks his friends, and prompts Jackson (Morris Chestnut, The Best Man, G.I. Jane) to reevaluate his life. Jackson is 29, and dreading his upcoming birthday. Unlike Terry, Jackson is afraid of commitment. He will break off a relationship to prevent it from becoming serious. Denise (Gabrielle Union, Bring It On, She's All That). Terry and Jackson are the foundation of The Brothers. The other two leads are Derrick (D.L. Hughely, The Original Kings of Comedy, the now defunct sitcom The Hughleys) is married, albeit unhappily, and Brian (Bill Bellamy, Any Given Sunday, Booty Call) is just sick of playing games.

The four discuss some serious issues. Interracial dating, commitment, success, and other potentially deep subjects frequently arise. However, The Brothers is not a serious movie. It is more of a romantic comedy. Writer/director Gary Hardwick (Colors of Justice) does a good job of making the characters smart and likable, no doubt aided by capable acting. What does not work is melding of the drama and comedy. There is much back-and-forth between the friends, much of it amusing. Hardwick glosses over these weighty issues, bringing them up and then flippantly dealing with them. The oddest point occurs near the middle. Hardwick uses a music video-like montage to signify the passage of time. The song is catchy and the camera work is interesting, but it just does not fit with the rest of the movie. Instead of feeling like time is passing, this sequence breaks the momentum of the film. It is out of place.

Still, watching these actors makes up for the shortcomings of the script. Union is especially good. Her prior films were fluffy teen efforts. With The Brothers, she jumps both in profile and in age, and it works. The character development of the other women is a little less, and the Brian character has less screen time as the movie progresses. Chestnut has the most screen time, and both he and his character are affable. The ending is somewhat of a let down also. It delves a little too far into the inane while wrapping things up a little too nicely.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 42 minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content and language.

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