G (Film)

Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: G (Film)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Edwardo Jackson

BIASES: 30year old black male; frustrated screenwriter who

favors action, comedy, and glossy, big budget movies over indie

flicks, kiddie flicks, and weepy Merchant Ivory fare

In the real world, Summer G (Richard T. Jones) would be Diddy: he’s a wildly successful Hip-Hop entrepreneur, throws all-white

parties in the Hamptons, and has the world kissing his behind. Chip Hightower (Blair Underwood), scion to a publishing magnate, also seems to be living the life with his seemingly bourgeous-quality wife Sky (Chenoa Maxwell) and mistress on the side (Marcia Wright). When Sky’s music journalist cousin Tracy (Andre Royo) enters the mix, he’s used as a conduit to reunite Sky with her former lover Summer G, whom she dumped ten years ago as a struggling artist to get with silver spoon-fed Chip. Passions– and melodrama – ensue.

Get used to that word “melodrama.” Although I like the look of this tony, buppie world, “G” is a fashion potato chip: more style than

substance, and leaves you hungry for more. For starters, the writing is uneven: flashes of brilliant wit and poignancy one moment,

self-destructive, over-the-top melodrama the next. Tonally, the film has mood swings from credible drama to camp as quick as an Allen

Iverson crossover. Director Christopher Scott Cherot does a good job in making sure we are never bored, although the script is its

own double-edged hari-kari sword. Whereas it will espouse a pithy little scene of social satire (a white girl arm-charm of a stuffy,

Hampton brotha knows more about Hip-Hop than he does), “G” will then self-sabotage with a third act climax (at a Diddy-like

“White Party,” no less) that runs off the rails with faulty characterization and nary a believable motivation in the bunch of

random actions.

The actors, however, are not so random. Up until that flawed third act, Richard Jones is in consummate command as Summer G. Radiating

cool, calm, placid arrogance, Jones’ G carries a menace beneath his collected timbre because he always, ALWAYS is just so damn CALM. Where

the Cherot and Charles E. Drew Jr. script (based on a story by Andrew Lauren) betrays Jones’ precise, if poser-ish work as the deeply

wounded but outwardly unaffected Summer G is by promoting some “angry” past that he never, ever shows glimpses of even possessing. And the

second it threatens to rear its ugly head, the wholly inorganic moment is, thankfully, truncated by some good ole fashioned common sense by

the filmmakers.

It’s Chenoa Maxwell’s sexy sense that propels her most through this movie. Embracing every year of her thirty-something womanhood, Maxwell

is strong, alluring, the ultimate temptation – and one definitely worth fighting for. The romantic tension is palpable between her and

Jones, particularly early on when their characters are forced to deny it. Blair Underwood is typecast as the smooth, spoiled, dilettante of

a playboy, therefore being utterly believable, while Andrew Lauren smartly inserts himself in his own financed picture in a small but

prominent role as Summer G’s advisor. However, it is Andre Royo’s (The Wire’s Bubbles) goofy, bubbly enthusiasm that makes this

exclusive world more man-on-the-street accessible as the Brooklyn journalist who’s caught in the middle as a social go-between beholden

to everyone.

Bogged down by a feckless subplot romance and a seemingly cold set that makes every woman appear as if she were braless, “G” chugs along

as an entertaining social class examination that gets hijacked into a whole other movie by Tyler Perry-style histrionics and melodrama in

the last act. For a movie involving the Hip-Hop industry, the soundtrack is surprisingly wack (that budget must’ve been REAL small).

I was right, though – the clothes ARE amazing. Well, save one failed experiment, a garishly distracting, maroon paisley, fitted longjohn

top worn by Jones in an important scene (glad to see even Ralph Lauren, father of actor/producer Andrew, is human).

Lovers of F. Scott Fitzgeralds’s The Great Gatsby can exhale (as if they were ever holding their breath) as the novel is indeed safe. But in a climate of lowest common denominator production and dumbed down of material, particularly to our African-American market, it’s good to see newer filmmakers trying out and creating newer ideas and worlds for us to exist in, too.

Edwardo Jackson (ReelReviewz@aol.com) is an author and LA-based screenwriter, visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com

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