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I remember this movie was in limited release when it came out in 1997. I
was able to catch it when it appeared on TMN, our movie channel up here in
Canada. Being a fan of Robert Townsend, I really liked his past work like
"Hollywood Shuffle" and his TV show "The Parenthood", so I knew I was going
to like this flick. Though the beginning of the movie is a little on the
weak side, it starts picking up to a nice pace and is entertaining.
Some reviewers were offended by the way African-Americans are portrayed in this movie, as ghetto talking and jiving boneheads. For me, I don't see it that way, I just see it as a comedy-straight up. I can see how people would be offended though, because most of the movies that came out before movies like "Waiting to Exhale" & "The Brothers" came out either portrayed the African-Americans as uneducated ghetto talking airheads, or gangsters, pimps, & drug dealers. Another thing I noticed from some of the reviews both on IMDB & other sources, is that the writers think that it has set back the clock for black actors etc. It was directed by an African-American, which I may add, never received his just props in Hollywood. In conclusion, if it makes you laugh, which the fine actors in this movie achieve whole heartedly, it's all good.
I enjoyed this story about 2 girls with not a lot of class. I'm a woman of color and could appreciate where the ladies were coming from. The characterizations represented the tackier side but I still enjoyed the performances and outcome. What the characters lacked in worldly knowledge, they demonstrated with their heart and compassion for the man portrayed by Martin Landau. I took it as a modern day rags-to-riches story and I'm glad Robert Townsend gave us B.A.P.S. Some may have been insulted but I viewed the story without shame or indignation. Life shouldn't be taken so seriously that you can't find the humorous side of your own people.
B.A.P.s, stylized as B*A*P*S, is an all around excellent movie. The
actors and actresses made this a surefire hit for anyone who watches
it, or at least in my opinion they need, obviously not a handful of
other IMDbers, for Halle Berry and Natalie Desselie are remarkable and
capture their characters wonderfully giving them so much lovableness
that I couldn't help but care for their charades and experiences.
It is so humorous and has great deliverance of the dialog, even if it's not the best dialog, beautiful scenario, the lighting at least in some scenes was gorgeous, and so many wonderful and unforgettable parts such as the bathroom scene, which I thought was the funniest scene in the movie, and when they're all out dancing around the end, which just makes me all warm inside because they're having such a good time without a care in the world, and that's what this movie was trying to show.
I don't believe there was really anything particularly wrong with this movie at all except that of course it is very mediocre at times. I'm tired of everyone calling it absolutely terrible, because I have come to understand that most every black comedy on this website is unfairly maligned. It wasn't boring and it certainly was not overrated, and this movie is an awesome and compelling film that is so wonderfully put together and has so many scenes that just make you want to smile through the whole rest of the movie, which I did, even if I was crying, and to this day, I have loved it ever since my first viewing. If you're not racist like some on IMDb have the nerve to say they are, you can enjoy this movie, otherwise, just back off.
Sure it's not "deep" but it is full of sight gags and it's hilarious. The scene at "The Gold Tooth" nightclub, the over-the-top hairdos, and the scene in the line for tryouts in the music video is nothing short of a gut-buster are only a smattering of the laughs you'll have. It is a heart-warming movie that you can watch over and over. PLUS, Halle Berry is such a BABE! So, lighten up and watch it... it beats the copycat 'Booty Call'.
Nisi and Mickey travel into LA to audition for a music video as dancers.
They fail the audition but are hired by a man to pose as the granddaughters
of rich Mr Blakemore. However the man's son Isaac appears to have more in
mind that just this as the two countrified, black princesses stumble their
way around in a rich man's world.
It's hard to believe when watching Halle Berry collected the best actress Oscar in 2002 than only a few years earlier she was in a dog like this! The story is almost a black Pygmalion in it's rags to riches type setting. It's possible to see how it might have worked but I'm afraid it didn't work at all. The story is unimportant if the laughs come fast and thick .however I barely smiled once. The level of comedy is aimed at an audience who laugh simply because a character talks like a guest on Jerry Springer, ie squealing and yelling `girrrrrrrl!' etc. The comedy never gets above this it's tacky and silly.
Backing this up is Berry and Desselle. Deselle is terrible simply hamming up her `blackness' it's amazing that black audiences are happy with stereotypes and caricatures like this. Berry tries but is poor, mainly due to the material but also because she isn't a tacky country ho! It's amazing that the makers of this film manage to make this classy lady look cheap and ugly by sticking her in gold teeth, cheap clothes and tacky personality. Landau is embarrassing at times you can see him close his eyes and just thinking of his Ed Wood Oscar! The only one that comes off well is Richardson's Manley although he is a white Jeffery (Fresh Prince). The list of black cameos (Rodman, Leon, LL Cool J, several MTV vee-jays) don't actual add interest other than to make you wonder how so many managed to get involved in this.
Overall this is not so much bad as just plain embarrassing for all involved. It shows Berry's talent that she came out of this and managed to further her career. Zero laughs, zero interest a million cringes, what a load of BAPS!
I loved B.A.P.S it was an awesome movie with a meaning. I thought of it as a Romantic Comedy. Halle Berry is one of my favorite actresses and I adore Natalie Desselle. All the other movies Halle played in they were more serious and less funny and B.A.P.S just showed one of her many talents as an actress. When I saw B.A.P.S it was the first time I had ever heard or saw Natalie Desselle and she was wonderful in this movie. This movie proved that they were really Black American Princesses. And besides I love most of Robert Townsend's movies and this was just one of them. Halle and Natalie acted those parts out like they were actually living Nisi and Nikki's lives and I thought that was just outstanding. It may not have been a big hit, but it was to me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Projects like this start with the notion of self-parody. You create funny characters that carry a funny world with them. Townsend does a good job at this, with the mannerisms so over the top you are aware of the actresses at every moment. TeeVee skits can work on this alone with no story. But you need a story to sell a movie.
Here we have a pretty lame execution on the story.
The interesting thing here is seeing Halle Berry before fame and Oscar. She's not really an actress with a lot of tools. Instead, she wears just a few attitudes. The same few here are all that were available in `Monster's Ball,' but they are much more apt here - that's because the idea is to make fun of people who act life roles badly. Naturally, they lose all the trashy affect by the end of the movie all they way to disappearing gold teeth. Just so we know they were only fooling.
Despite this, Landau has a pretty masterful death scene. Ian Richardson. Real acting here.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
A terribly unfunny insulting film that embarrasses Landau and Berry, who have both been better. I hope their salaries for this film were astronomical because no self-respecting actor in their right mind would sign on for this film. There are poor and hungry people on our streets, yet somehow a movie like BAPS gets made with a budget of probably several million dollars. Something is wrong with this picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A "bap" is, in British usage at least, a type of bread roll; in slang
it can also be used to mean "breast". This film is not, however, either
soft-core porn or set in the baking industry. Here the word is an
acronym for "Black American Princess". The "B*A*P*S" of the title are
Nisi (it's short for Denise)and her best friend Mickey, two black girls
from Georgia who fly to Los Angeles to take part in a dancing contest.
They don't win, but while they are in the city they are approached by a
stranger who makes them a curious proposition. He tells them that he
represents an elderly, dying, millionaire, Donald Blakemore, who many
years ago was in love with Lily, his family's black maid. The deal is
that Nisi will pose as Lily's granddaughter, in return for which she
and Mickey will receive $10,000 and free board at the old man's
mansion. The girls are so terminally naive they don't realise that this
is all a scam and that they are being used as pawns in a scheme by
Blakemore's nephew Isaac to defraud his uncle of his wealth.
The term "Black American Princess", coined on the analogy of "Jewish American Princess", is sometimes used to describe young African-American women from wealthy, cultured backgrounds. Its use in this film, however, is deliberately ironic. Both Nisi and Mickey are from working-class backgrounds (Nisi is a waitress, Mickey a hairdresser) and neither can be described as cultured. Indeed, the film has been criticised by some African-Americans for perpetuating the stereotype of working-class black girls as loud, vulgar and tasteless. The film should have received special Razzie nominations for "worst costume design" and, even more "worst hairstyles". Halle Berry, who stars as Nisi, is one of the world's most beautiful women, but even she finds it difficult to look attractive wearing a fluorescent orange trouser suit and with bleached blonde hair piled high on her head. The twist is that at the end of the film the girls become real "princesses" when Blakemore leaves them a legacy to reward them for the happiness they have brought into his life. With the benefits of their new-found wealth they abandon their gold teeth and false nails and dress more stylishly.
The film has been described as a rags-to-riches fairytale along the lines of "Cinderella", although I preferred one reviewer's comparison with "Pygmalion"; Cinderella achieved her good fortune by marrying a prince, whereas at the end of this film Nisi and Mickey return to their original boyfriends in Georgia. For all their vulgarity and lack of class, the girls are depicted as decent and kind-hearted, and therefore deserving of their unexpected good fortune. This characterisation, however, was never really convincing. Any woman who is offered a large sum of money to adopt a false identity really ought to realise that she is being used as part of some dishonest scheme; that Nisi fails to do so suggests she must be either terminally naive or terminally stupid.
A number of good films have been made on the "Cinderella" or "Pygmalion" themes, such as "My Fair Lady" or "Pretty Woman", but unfortunately "B*A*P*s" is not one of them. "Catwoman" (for which she won a "Worst Actress" Razzie to go with her "Best Actress" Oscar for "Monster's Ball") is normally cited as Halle Berry's worst movie, but I found "B*A*P"s" far worse. "Catwoman" may be nonsense, but at least it is enjoyable nonsense, whereas "B*A*P*s" is a vulgar, tacky and witless comedy. There is very little humour in the script; you know that the scriptwriters are desperate when they have to resort to that old chestnut about the girl who is so unsophisticated she doesn't even realise what a bidet is for. The film was simply a waste of the talents of all those involved. Natalie Desselle, who plays Mickey, would not, on the evidence of this film, seem to have much talent to waste, but several of the others- not only Berry, but also Martin Landau as Blakemore and the late Ian Richardson as his stuffy butler Manley- deserved better than this. 3/10
The movie manages to insult just about everyone. What's really astonishing is how it manages to make black people look dumb, tacky and annoying. Truly a movie to be avoided like the plague.
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