Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BITE-SIZED REVIEW: Boomerang (Reginald Hudlin, 1992)


I caught this movie a fews weeks back and really liked it. 
 
Eddie Murphy stars as ladies man Marcus Graham, a hot shot ad exec who spends his off-hours ticking off one-night stands. He cloaks this behaviour by claiming he has high standards, but Marcus is just a player. Marcus's life is thrown into turmoil when he meets Jacqueline Broyer (Robin Givens). 

Not only does she undo his patented seduction techniques, she has also taken the job Marcus felt he was entitled to (he had sex with the head of the company, so he thought he had the deal sealed). 


Now not only is Jacqueline his new boss, she is his female equivalent. When they finally do the horizontal mambo, Marcus finds himself falling for her -- much to his surprise. When Jacqueline blows him off in a ironic echo of his own philandering ways, Marcus begins to realise just how alike they really are. Will Marcus change his ways and find love?

Boomerang is chiefly famous for three things: as the movie that broke Halle Berry to a wide audience; Grace Jones's batshit supporting turn as  Helen Strangé and the sweet New Jack Swing soundtrack (featuring the likes of Boys II Men, Toni Braxton and Johnny Gill).

Aside from these qualities, the movie is a pretty by-the-numbers romantic comedy lifted by strong performances and a good smattering of laughs. The movie's biggest laughs come out of the movie's more bizarre tangents.

The subplot involving Grace Jones's barmy celebrity Strangé is wild -- she is introduced driving a chariot pulled by muscle men in hot pants, and becomes the star of a perfume ad that looks like the unholy love child of Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam.  

The underrated David Alan Grier and Martin Lawrence are also good as Murphy's best friends. Grier is a talented actor, famous for his stint on In Living Color, and this is one of his better showcases. 


One the biggest surprises was Halle Berry as Rachel Lewis, the 'good' girl who helps Marcus see the light. This kind of role can be a real slog if the writing is not good, but Rachel is far more interesting than that. Berry is so winsome and smart in the part I could not believe this was the same actress from Die Another Day/Catwoman/Dark Tide/almost every movie she's made this millennium.

Berry's been on a downward swing since her Oscar win in 2001. With no other research, I would like to offer a thesis as to why Berry's star fell. Berry is a good actress, but she does not have the charisma of a movie star. She is ridiculously attractive, and I think the combo of her being a solid actress with looks fooled people into thinking she was enough of a 'star' personality to sell movies on.  Watching Boomerang, it becomes obvious her strength is as a supporting player. She can hold her own with Murphy, but she never overshadows him -- she fits into her role but at no point does it feel like a bigger star waiting to break out. Watching her other roles from the Nineties might change my mind, but in her post-Monsters Ball star roles (Die Another Day, Catwoman, the X-Men movies) Berry never fills the screen in the way that stars of her generation do. 

ANYWAY. Boomerang, kids. It's a good rom com. Check it out. And track down the soundtrack on Youtube. It's great.

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