Deliver Us From Eva

Writer/director Gary Hardwick apparently likes to work in fours. His first feature film, The Brothers, dealt with four African-American men. His new film, Deliver Us From Eva, again has four African-American men, and this time it also has four African-American women. So it could be called The Brothers and the Sisters. In any manner, it is a step backwards for Hardwick, who is now trolling around in the romantic comedy genre. Of these sisters, the eldest, Eva Dandridge (Gabrielle Union, Abandon, Welcome to Collinwood) is more like a mother. She had the task of raising the Dandridge sisters after their mother died, and to this day the four remain extremely close. The men in their lives think differently. They believe that Eva is arrogant, imperious, and is ruining all of their respective relationships.

One big problem is that all of the sisters and the men are so undifferentiable. The sisters include Essence Atkins (How High, Nikita Blues), Robinne Lee (National Security, Hav Plenty), and Meaghan Good (Biker Boyz, 3 Strikes). Their men are Mike (The Groomsmen, Any Given Sunday), Tim (Mel Jackson, An Invited Guest, Dancing in September), and Darrell (Dartanyan Edmonds, Bulworth, Woo), but good luck attaching names to these six people, especially the men. The women come off as always standing up for Eva, and the men come off as whiny and annoying. So one could say it is a sort of role reversal for the men from other typical movies. Anyway, the men decide that in order to reclaim their wives/girlfriends, they need to somehow get rid of Eva.

This where Ray (LL Cool J, Rollerball, Kingdom Come) comes in. He is a notorious player who beds women then dumps them. The men hire him to take Eva out, woo her for a while, and then throw her away like rotten leftovers. They figure that this will somehow cause Eva to lose her influence over her sisters. What Hardwick and co-screenwriters James Iver Mattson and B.E. Brauner don't realize is that a sullen Eva will mean the sisters stick together even closer. So their stupidity fixes itself upon the men in the movie, and also comes across in many of the plot developments. The men love the fact that Eva is falling for Ray, since they are able to spend more time with their women. Ray also realizes that he is beginning to fall for Eva, and has second thoughts about dumping her.

So somehow she will learn why he was interested in the first place, and this will set in motion events that take viewers to the predictable ending. There are essentially eight main characters, although the only two with any depth (still shallow) are Eva and Ray. Hardwick paints them with such broad strokes that all their actions are extremely predictable. All these characters are nothing more than movie creations that follow pre-ordained paths and say things that sound clever to screenwriters but frequently fall flat when heard. Hardwick also tries to spice things up by throwing in some pretty out-there situations (Ray begins looking back on his death), and again the concepts probably sounds better than the realization. It is nice seeing LL as a romantic lead, but watching Union act like a fool easily cancels that out.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 45 minutes, Rated R for sex-related dialogue

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