"Refusing to Exhale"
Review by Ross Anthony

White lace, pure like light through leader film, a milk-filled projector spills ivory onto the screen -- organic, undefined, like rays of the sun. The first distinguishable image strikes a menacing contrast. A cold steel .45 caliber pistol raises in the hand of some spinning bride donning full wedding dress. She aims. Click. Jackson (Chestnut) awakens from this telling dream. In the very next sequence he's talking with a psychiatrist about his inability to commit. A dramatic entrance into a very enjoyable production.

Four rich professional men in their late twenties meet religiously once a week for a game of basketball and a drink at the club. The topic of discussion, "Love happiness and all that sh*t," ...from-the-heart straight-talk between brothers. Brian, the cynical one, is quick to make a lawyer's distinction, "Yeah sure, love and happiness ... not marriage!"

Terry (Moore) decides it's time to abandon the field in favor of starting a life with fiancee Susan Dalian. Brian (Bellamy) openly criticizes that choice, speaking freely about the doom sure to follow. All the while, Brian battles his own issues with a mother that simply refuses to hug him.

But the oral sex argument between Derrick (Hughley) and wife Sheila (R. Jones) breaks all awkward topics rules. Brutal, loving, honesty regarding this taboo subject propels the sequence like a bottle-rocket in a trash can -- striking side-aching hit after hit. It's perfect; a cinematic moment that glides. A scene that makes all other less-graceful moments instantly forgiven.

Though the gel spreads unevenly, some scenes sparkling more than others, these "Brothers" are full to the brim with heart, soul, and a solid sense of humor. A picture well worth seeing.

"There are so many different stories, so many different relationships ... that people can draw from..." Chestnut says of the film, "I think each person is going to see or get something different. But first and foremost I hope they just come and laugh and have a good time."

  • Brothers. Copyright © 2001. Rated R.
  • Starring Morris Chestnut, D.L. Hughley, Bill Bellamy, Shemar Moore,
  • Tamala Jones, Gabrielle Union, Jenifer Lewis, Tatyana Ali, Clifton Powell.
  • Written and Directed by Gary Hardwick.
  • Produced by Darin Scott, Paddy Cullen at Screen Gems.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:40 PDT