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Jermaine, a young struggling Atlanta lawyer, decides to spruce up his marriage with Jasmine, who's mentally recovering from an abusive previous relationship, by hiring Jade, a bisexual stripper/prostitute fighting a custody battle with her ex-husband for their four-year-old son, for a threesome menage-a-trois get together only to have all three of them suffer the after-affects when Jermaine begins acting possessive towards Jasmine and Jade which leads to Jade (or someone) stalking him and disrupting his private and professional life. Written by
First of all, let me make one thing crystal clear. When I paid my money to see this movie, I didn't walk into the theatre expecting something worthy of Academy Award consideration. However, what I did expect was a story that had some semblance of logic (and perhaps a few cheap thrills). I also expected a film that in some way dealt with the often avoided issue of Black sexuality. But once again like several recent Black "thrillers," I was left disappointed. What's the deal with these independent filmmakers? You make a film that presents itself as a steamy erotic thriller, but with PG-rated sex and no nudity to speak of. What's the point? Audiences would have been better served by renting an old copy of FATAL ATTRACTION or even SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, than paying their hard earned money to see basically the same thing that you could catch for free on a network daytime drama. An erotic thriller without any steamy sex or nudity is like a western with no gunfight or a romantic comedy with little romance and no comedy. On another level, the poorly structured story makes absolutely no sense. Without giving away the ending, the writers set up things that don't pay off later in the script and "pay off" with things that were not properly set up. By doing so, they break a cardinal rule of any type thriller or mystery story by not playing fair. Also, the scenes are not arranged for maximum dramatic effect. It lacks the escalating tension that made FATAL ATTRACTION so effective in its examination of infidelity. There are also several subplots in the film which serve to trivialize important issues (e.g., physical abuse, child care). Additionally, the film relies too heavily on stereotypes, particularly as they relate to the lesbian/bi-sexual character of Jade. In terms of acting, Gretchen Palmer stands out with her over-the-top performance as Jade, which occasionally gave the film some much needed camp appeal. On the other hand, Gary Dourdan as Jermaine was weak. He's so cold and insensitive, one wonders how his wife, Jasmine (Kenya Moore in a typical B-movie performance) agreed to his "indecent proposal" in the first place. If independent filmmakers are going to compete with big budget studio fare such as FATAL ATTRACTION, they must be willing to "push the envelope." Instead, TROIS along with a series of other recent independently produced sexual thrillers insist on playing it safe by toning down the sex and the more provocative elements in their films. For what reason, who knows? Hopefully, some other filmmaker will "step up to the plate" and really deal with Black sexuality rather than skirt around it. On a positive note, despite it's many flaws, TROIS is still better than Rob Hardy's anemic first feature, CHOCOLATE CITY. The film is also to be commended for its small scale, but reasonably effective grass-roots marketing champaign. As a gesture in support of Black independent films, I have delayed submission of this critique until the film has all but left the theatres. For those who haven't seen it, check it out on video and express your own views.
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