Four buddies learn how
to commit in 'The Brothers'
****1/2 (out of five stars)
Starring: Bill Bellamy, Morris Chestnut
By Maurice Bobb
Daily Cougar Staff
Still sore from the beating they took in
the guy-bashing Waiting to Exhale, males now have their own forum
with The Brothers.
Dubbed "Refusing to Exhale" by director
Gary Hardwick, The Brothers stars Morris Chestnut (The Best Man),
D.L. Hughley (Kings of Comedy), Bill Bellamy (Any Given Sunday),
and Shemar Moore (The Young and the Restless) as four successful
friends who struggle with love, honesty, commitment and the last piece
This film hopes to open the floodgates
on discussion about black love just as Waiting to Exhale did in
1995, but this time from an honest, humorous and testosterone-driven perspective.
The Brothers begins as Terry White
(Shemar Moore), a hardcore player with the ladies, announces that he's
retiring his number and committing to the big "M" (marriage) -- to the
total shock of his crew, who get a bad taste in their mouths just from
uttering the word "commitment."
Nicola Goode/Screen Gems
From left to right, Morris
Chestnut, D.L. Hughley, Bill Bellamy and Shemar Moore make a toast to the
future in The Brothers.
But his news plants a seed in his friends'
minds about examining their own lives and relationships.
This movie, although centered on the guys'
weekly basketball games, the local club and numerous bedroom encounters,
has more to discuss than brothers shooting hoops and chasing women. It
explores why men do what they do when it comes to infidelity and fear of
... that dreaded "C" word (commitment).
"I wanted to show the other side of what
is going on in these types of stories, beyond the problems that men might
have with women," Hardwick said. "We go a little deeper to deal with the
families, to deal with the first women that they ever loved -- their mothers
-- and to show how these things are inextricably connected to one another."
Jackson Smith (Morris Chestnut) suffers
from an intense fear of commitment, often having nightmares in which a
scorned bride uses him for target practice.
Jackson seeks professional therapy for
his condition and hopes that it won't affect his new relationship with
Denise Johnson (Gabrielle Union of Bring It On).
Brian Palmer (Bill Bellamy) is a lawyer
who continually dogs black women and goes so far as to date a white woman
just because he thinks she'll be different. The eternal pessimist, Brian
acts as the extreme reality check for the guys' plight in finding love.
Derrick West (D. L. Hughley) is the only
married man in the crew, trapped in a sexually frustrating marriage to
Sheila (Tamala Jones).
Derrick provides some of the movie's funniest
moments, as real-life situations have always been Hughley's comedic strong
point. Like most men in relationships, he spends half the relationship
saying, "Hey baby, what would you say if I said we should ... uh ... you
The all-star cast also includes veteran
actress Jenifer Lewis and Clifton Powell, who star as Jackson's parents,
Louise and Fred Smith. Tatyana Ali plays Jackson's independent-minded little
sister, Chere. Susan Dalian stars as Terry's fiancée, Bebe Fales,
and Marla Gibbs gives a "take no jive" performance as Derrick's mother,
Louise sets the tone for the women in the
movie by telling them that if a man gives you his last piece of food, then
he really loves you.
Despite the seriousness of the issues brought
out by the film, there is enough comedy to keep you laughing long after
the film is over; Bellamy and Hughley will leave your stomach hurting.
So men, this is our movie. But be warned: if you take your girl, be ready
for a barrage of relationship questions afterwards.
You'll like this movie, but it hits just
a little too close to home. Just let her have the last piece of food.