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"Make the money...Don't let it make you"
jpschapira1 September 2005
"An Ice Cube film"…Wow, that's already big enough. Not that Ice Cube is the biggest celebrity of the planet, but he is an actor I appreciate; too much. He is honest, simple; pure. He is a rapper, a musician who writes songs for films, and is good at it, besides being a low profile artist. Plus, he is a very good actor who does what he pleases and likes to and never disappoints. With the production company he has, he could have the highest ego, but he continues on doing his job.

In 1998, he got his chance to direct his movie; his first and only up to date. He wouldn't do the stupid gangster films the other rappers do because he takes the job seriously; so seriously he wrote his own neighborhood and people story, which is unexpectedly touching in its most impressive moments. He had done that type of film before, with independent man John Singleton, among others in that film I regret not seeing yet, "Boyz N' the Hood". Whether he got inspiration from there or not, I don't care, but the screenplay is his.

In his tale, where he also allows a role for him, we meet Diana (a powerful and gripping performance by Lisa Raye), a young girl and aspiring journalist with a lot of problems that drive her towards working on a strippers club, to get money and become Diamond. In Dollar Bill's (original Bernie Mac) club, "The players club", she is not the typical stripper, dancing with all the others; she has a special number, and some clients. Every day she deals with cousin Ebony (Monica Calhoun), who lives with her and has more than two times her problems; her unfaithful boyfriend and the different people in the club, including DJ Blue (a calm portrayal by Jamie Foxx), who likes her.

Like in any other story, these are not the only ones in Cube's vision…There are lots of them and each of them has their own thing that relates to another thing. However, Cube always keeps the story focused in its center point. His gift as a director (because he could have sucked) comes with the importance he gives to the camera. He has a desperate need to show things as real as possible, even if it is a fiction story, so his camera moves like eyes most of the times, like afraid of watching what's waiting on the other side, so the impact is harder when we seed alongside the camera. It is a very effective technique.

What is also captivating and remarkable, is how much of him we can see in the film. Like directors of the league of Scorsese or Oliver Stone, Ice Cube tries to makes us see what he sees. There are a few scenes with enormous violence; glasses that break, shootings, people hurt…We feel it, and it is hard to watch. I was thinking about Spike Lee, and how personal his movies are. I was shocked with the ending of "Do the right thing", but I understood it was just Spike Lee expressing himself.

I don't know what exactly the message Lee wanted to give was, I don't know what was going through his mind at the time, just as I didn't know what was Ice Cube thinking, so he could end up showing "The players club" in flames during the first frames of his movie.
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respectable directorial debut for Cube
Special-K885 March 2002
Unremarkable but ambitious story from writer-director Ice Cube. A young woman recalls her emotionally wrenching experiences while working at a raunchy black strip club. More specifically, she remembers the burden of dealing with sleazy customers, reprehensible rivals, and wild parties on the side, all the while doing her best to maintain her dignity while working to better her life. Intriguing story is accompanied by a talented cast, powerful moments, and some fine performances, but too often resorts to familiar plot twists and lame stereotypes. Not a bad piece of work for first time director Cube, but would have benefited from more creativity. **
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An ambitious piece of filmmaking.
Dale-3127 October 1998
This is basically a black, very superior version of "Striptease" and "Showgirls." It's not as sexy as "Showgirls," but what I really looked for was a better plot. This had one. LisaRaye gave an impressive debut performance as a college student trying to make ends meet. Bernie Mac can make the most dramatic piece of dialogue into stand-up comedy with his extraordinary vocal strength and stamina. I was very impressed with Ice Cube, his writing-directing debut, because, honestly, I didn't know he was capable. I like how he staged the scenes and built suspense. The great thing about it is that there is a considerable amount of violence, but no one is killed. For once, a black film where everyone lives. Another thing, this movie has the best, most vicious catfight I have ever seen.
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Fairly good movie with an exciting plot.
chill-1512 December 1998
Dear Reader, I think the movie Players Club had a good story line. The situation that Diana was in can be related to many young women's situation in today's world. So many women in search for independence like Diana have used Strip Clubs as a means to an end. However many ignorant individuals think that all strippers are whores and forget that maybe this job is a temporary position for some of these women. I think Lisa Raye did a good acting job and I hope Hollywood considers her for other roles. Ice Cube should be applauded for an exciting movie.
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An entertaining film with a lovely leading lady
ThinMan-44 August 1999
This film is actually interesting at several levels. It is serio-comical so it has good contrast. Lisa Ray is delicious with her obvious attributes, mesmerizing eyes, and just perfect voice. Dollar Bill, the character played by Bernie Mac is simply funny.

To the extent that there is a theme, it is one of black exploitation by other blacks, the operative color being the green of money, and it was refreshing to see the absence of non-African Americans so that the themes and action were not framed within the usual, tired aria of white economic oppression, and rather the interactions between the characters are the focal point. The criminals portrayed with the guns are more cartoonish than not, yet the real and abhorrent predators become apparent as the ones victimizing Ebony.

Not an academy award winner, but good entertainment. Gets a 7 in my book.
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Fair B movie
kenandraf16 September 2001
Fair B quality movie depicting slice of black American strip club life in southern USA.Story is good social commentary on said lifestyle's evils and dangers but the movie suffers from a rushed directorial style and lackluster performances even by pro actors who have displayed better in the past.This was probabably caused by lack of directorial discipline on Ice Cube's part due to budget constraints.You can realy tell the veteran actors were not paid properly and just cruised along as a favor for Cube.Too bad for the movie's story was a good idea,setting up for great drama,action,comedy,sex,social commentary and entertainment much like the winning formula of SHOWGIRLS.I vote for a proper remake of this one!But as of now,avoid this movie unless you really want a peek into that lifestyle or are a big fan of any of the lead actors.Do not expect much sex scenes though for the focus on this one is social commentary......
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cause we're tra-a-ash ...
salome-312 March 2000
In an ideal guided tour about freakishly bad movies from 1977 onwards, The Players' Club should deserve a stop. It's got a terrible storyline that, along with the not-so-subtle clinging onto (or blatantly ripping off) the tradition of blaxploitation, makes up for a trite, short-living revival of that genre. But also it's one of those bad movies that are so bad you can't take your eyes off of it. Watch out for the (so fake it hurts) catfight scene between the "good" stripper Lisa Raye and the "bad", lesbian, vicious, bleached blonde, whatshername stripper. The small part of Ice Cube himself as the stereotype bad guy and the obvious "you can make all the money you want, but don't let money make a slave out of you" message (you're gonna hear it so many times throughout the movie it's gonna ring in your head like a f***ing bell for hours afterwards !) top it all. Rent it, but only if you know how much it's gonna suck.
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Poorly written, poorly acted – a real stereotypical movie from start to end
bob the moo5 October 2002
When Diana gets pregnant in college she moves in her with boyfriend who soon tires of her and moves out. When working in a shoe shop Diana gets met by two strippers who invite her down to try out for the Players Club where she gets taken on. Given the name Diamond by her boss, Diana also gets her cousin involved in the club while she also tries to look after her son and stay in school. Eventually the drama of the club gets intense and catches her up.

I like Ice Cube as an actor. He does stay in the `safe' comedy roles but he has also moved on well since his debut in Boyz n'da Hood. Here he takes on his directorial debut and he does OK. I mean the shots are nice and the camera moves around well enough. Sadly he is let down on nearly every other front. First off, the plot is pretty poor. It's told in flashback and just seems to involve everyone swearing as our heroine tries to go her own way and move up and out etc etc. We are `treated' to the odd dance and fight scene but really the bits don't all come together and it just feels like everyone is swearing over nothing all the time.

The acting is surprisingly bad from several main sources. Lisa Raye's narration is terrible but her performance is actually alright. Calhoun is good looking and quite good but that's about it. Mac is terrible, not funny or believable. Foxx is not bad but could have done more. Wilson and Givens are ugly and nasty – they can't act and I find it hard to believe people actually paid Wilson to get naked!

This film is basically a modern blackploitation film – made for black people to come and watch regardless of quality. The plot is average at best and the performances are mostly poor. The plot is episodic and lacks drive or drama and will leave you feeling bored and distracted. Overall Cube may have directing skills worth watching again but lets hope his next vehicle is better than this.
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"Buckin NECKID!!"
Aaron Martinez2 April 2007
I'm not to sure if this was supposed to be serious, or a comedy… There was a lot of funny stuff in it. But, there were also a lot of things that seemed to me were supposed to be scary.

It is a story about an innocent girl who is working as a stripper trying to put herself through school, and all the drama and headaches that comes along with her job. Not a bad story. It has some heartfelt events. The dialog wasn't very good at all. The acting was hit or miss. The way Ice Cube told the story was pretty flawed. Things were pretty misplaced, which makes it hard to follow at times.

Wasn't a bad flick. Something I would recommend solely for entertainment purposes, and only if you like cheesy "being bullied" type movies. 95% of the characters were either being bullied by someone, bullying someone else, or both…
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The black man version of "Striptease" mixed with "The A-Team"
BlackJack_B16 May 2002
Ice Cube probably will never be as revered or respected as much as his cohort, the late Tupac Shakur, when it comes to rapping or acting, but he's getting there. I liked his performances in Friday, Next Friday, Three Kings, and especially in Boyz 'N The Hood. Now the Cube attempts to direct a film, and this is his first project.

Every Black American I've known has seen this movie; they have pride in seeing their brothers make films. Although this one is not great; it's watchable and it's quite good in spots.

The story is about a young lady named Diana who comes from a well-off family. She had a child out of wedlock. Her parents want her to go to their alma mater, but she wants to go to another school that the parents disapprove. They get into a big fight, so she leaves them to go to her university of choice. Of course, she doesn't have enough money to go to school and raise her child, so she decides to become an exotic dancer at a black club. The club is owned by a man who is in big trouble with loan sharks.

Later, a cousin comes to visit for the summer, and seeing Diana working there, decides to get a job there, too. Unfortunately, Ebony is drawn to the seediness of the people, and Diana must monitor her closely, because she's underage (18-19)

Of course, all the usual stereotypes are here, the fat stripper who's booed of the stage, the outlandish show-offy dancers, the slow-witted stalkers, just like how it was done in "Striptease", but it's not played for laughs. There is one funny scene in which the loan sharks stick Jamie Foxx's head in the car and drive around with him still on his feet when he tells them he doesn't know where the club owner (Bernie Mac) is.

The acting is either weak or over-the-top. LisaRaye, as Diana, is not a good actress, but she does look good. The others are either weak as well or go way overboard. The ambience, though, is quite good. The direction is decent, but the script is filled with cliches and other Black sayings that have been done to death.

Why did I compare it with the A-Team? Despite the extreme violence stemming from beatings, arson, assaults, etc. no one dies! Just like how The A-Team and the bad guys have balletic shoot-outs, no man is ever shot and killed. Not a single person is killed in this film, which at least is a positive thing; that every one gets a second chance to amend themselves. If you're a fan of Ice Cube; this isn't bad, but I'd rent it on the cheap if you've seen everything else.
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An excellent piece of film work
Khalil22 November 1998
This movie has it all. Comedy, drama, action, sex appeal and good acting. Ice Cube, as a writer, has done it again and, for the movie to be his directorial debut, it is an excellent piece of film work.
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"Blaxploitation, Still Alive And Thriving..."
abyoussef20 August 2010
by Dane Youssef


But movies on the stripping game don't seem to. They never seem to be well-made, or much fun. Why? What's going on here? The characters and plot are so non-existent, they fall under the category of pornos without sex.

And who wants to see that?

Such on the form as "Showgirls" made one wish the makers had followed pornography by example and not tried to have plot.

Good readers, take a deeep breath of relief that "The Players Club" has slightly higher-quality of strip than glitzy dives like "Showgirls" and "Striptease." Not quite the British Oscar contender level of "The Full Monty"... but not quite a "Striptease."

Written and directed by old-school rap superstar Ice Cube, "The Players Club" is a posh, yet harsh feature dealing with women needing big money really fast and giving themselves over to this way in order to get it. Stripping changes who you are all over. Inside-and-out, Diana says.

But hey--everybody needs money. Everyone wants more. Even if you're Trump, every single dollar... just isn't enough. We've all heard of the girl who turns trick in order as last resort. There are women who get into stripping 'cause they want worship, adoration. To control every man in the room--and her career.

But there are those who just need to make mad money mad fast. When we meet Diana (LisaRaye), she's just had a fight with father over college. He throws her out. She leans on a guy for support. He gives her more than that. He gives her a child. Then he leaves her.

Single black woman raises baby on her own, no means. Such a sad, familiar story.

To make ends meet, she gets at a shoe-store job. Some strippers come in and tell her there are ways of making more money--much, much more. In high demand. You're in charge of your career, your clientèle, yourself. Diana, you're suddenly in charge of life.

The "The Players Club," a ritzy men's club it Atlanta. The place is always hopping like a horny-toad on hop with the kind of people you'd like to know.

"Players" has a lot of the gimmicks as "Striptease." One can only wonder... did The Ice see that movie... just before he wrote up this?

A lot is pretty warmed-over. But despite blaxploitation roots and intentions, "The Players Club" boasts an A-list cast and production values, thanks to the powerful status name of The Ice Cube and New Line.

Bernie Mac gives in his plum of the "Players Club" owner "Dollar" Bill. A eccentric cartoon who dresses like a pimp, promotes himself like Don King with that philosophical wisdom that one picks up on the street, from the school of hard knocks. Business, yet ghetto.

John Amos and Faizon Love are a pair of sorta dirty-cops who frequent. They got that Amos and Andy-shtick with Amos playing it straight and Love going for laughs.

Oscar-winner Foxx of "Ray" fame got his start in the biz as stand-up and here as Blue, it might've served him (and the freakin' movie) better had he done some of his act. You'd think the DJ at a strip club wouldn't be important (Bill even tells Blue that to his face at one point), but he proves to be the very thing that Diana needs--even pulling it all together in the final act.

Looking at all this, I kept waiting for Pam Grier to pop up in some cameo (where she at least keep her clothes on).

"Players Club" does make a lot of its characters colorful and eccentric while keeping a lot of them fairly human. Cube tries to juggle, not making it a specific genre--but a "life film." His movie is comedy, drama, a thriller, and action flick...

As a filmmaker, Ice dons the indie hat here--as screenwriter, executive producer, director and bit-player.

Though at times, Cube's stuff feels tired, underdeveloped. He's credited also as exec producer, which I think means he green-lit his own project. It pays to have an objective eye. Could Cube's old director from "Boyz 'N' The Hood" Singelton have come down to give former "Doughboy" some sage advice?

Despite it's blaxploitation roots, "Club" mostly tries to sidestep a lot of opportunities to make the whole thing really, really campy, going for the "so bad, it's good" laughs that helped the earlier "white-stripper" movies get some viewers. But there is some camp here and there--all unintentional, I'm sure. Cube ain't Spike Lee.

He doesn't make all the women into the kind of creatures they seem to be in their act. He doesn't make all their customers into crazed rioting monkeys. Oh, no. No, no. The Ice has more respect for this than all that. And doesn't just fall back on the easy crutch of just peddling shots of naked flesh from near beginning-to-end.

I wished Cube's partner-in-crime Chris Tucker from "Friday" had popped- up. Tucker is on-par with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence as comic presence. Such talent, he's can bring even the deadest scene to life. Ol' Smokey made "Friday" a must-see, he could've made this all the better.

There are times when Cube doesn't capture energy he needs to. As director, he seems to be just recording. The camera is on auto-pilot rather than capturing mood.

No classic, no AFI's 100 Best, no one's absolute fave of all time--no. Still worth seeing.

And blaxploitation is still alive, still thriving... somewhere in this world. Not thriving like the stripping game, or the world's oldest profession.

But yeah, it's there...

--A Believer in Big, Bad Black Cinema, Dane Youssef
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Bitchin Action
tonyleonardo12 October 2002
This movie is straight pimp. Guns, chicks, chicks with guns, hoes, players, white cops getting spanked by black chicks who carry guns, deals, dopes, drive-bys, cripples and just about everything you want in a movie. Pure visceral fun. If you aren't down for the thrill of this movie go rent a Jimmy Stewart flick and bring your Wonderbread.
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Ice Cube Tries To Sell Some Records
Theo Robertson30 October 2005
The TV guide described THE PLAYERS CLUB as " Gritty drama about an aspiring journalist who takes a job in a strip club to make ends meet " which had me thinking I'd be watching something like STRIPTEASE without any of the campness but I found myself being more and more puzzled at what sort of film Ice Cube was trying to make here . It might be gritty but only because characters say things like " Ah'm thru wid chew you motherf--kin' ho " while the drama elements never come to the fore . In fact there's little in the way of character focus . The aspiring journalist Diane Armstrong gets a job at the strip club but the story centres around other character subplots for a couple of minutes that don't really lead anywhere and one can't help thinking the character of Diane is used to set up the story just so writer/director Ice Cube can use the location to play a soundtrack that is composed of mainly Ice Cube tracks . Oh yes this is a very cynical ploy of selling a few records and left me thinking this was the only function of the movie which apart from the beautiful Lisa Raye who spends much of the movie either topless or dressed in a bikini is mainly a waste of time
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Too much of nothing...
Jazz-3120 April 1999
I felt that the plot for Player's Club just barely held water. The second to last scene was a joke. A wheel chaired gangster with a tommy gun and a rocket launcher in the deep south was too much for me. The last scene with the beat up cousin was too much. How do you go job hunting days after being attacked. Even Al Bundy doesn't want a beat down ex-stripper pushing his wares.

However as an Ice Cube fan and a fan of local "players clubs", the movie wasn't a total waste. It was the supporting characters that deserve credit for carrying this movie. All and all it's worth renting.
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Ice Cube Debuts
Terri-511 March 1999
I enjoyed this movie and was not surprised that I did because Ice Cube has always been the type of artist to put 110% effort into anything that he does. He doesn't rush anything and he perfects his work to HIS liking, not anyone else's. Lisa Raye portrait Diamond in a very classy light and I was glad to see that the idea of strip joints being "sleazy" did not rub off into the point of her character. Though entertaining, I saw a social message in it as well. It's up to other viewers to see if they see a message as well.
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Black Cinema:R.I.P
pooh-2413 July 1999
Another movie about black people that degrades them and lowers their moral standards completely.This film is made by a gangster(ICE CUBE)for gangsters.The idea of a black woman having to prove her worth by showing off her wares as a stripper is just too much.This movie says all black people are good for are sex,drugs,and crime,how else does anyone who looks at the characters who have the moral standards of a pimp,who speak in the heaviest ebonics tones,to be like?Black people with no good guidelines to life just a bunch of sleezy ebonic speaking hustlers.Nearly all films about black Americans these days have degrade so badly it is safe to say that black cinema is dead.For without any changes from the black sellouts and their white masters who finance their films,black exploitation is very much alive and well.
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Very good directorial debut by a rapper
DunnDeeDaGreat16 March 2002
Most films directed by rappers are usually very bad. The Players Club is a very good one. Ice Cube found good actors that can work with his medicore script. The film has a moral and is very funny. The only down point is the script could have been better.
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Stunk to High Heaven!
mizkwebb16 August 1999
I was bitterly disappointed in this film. It's one of the worst-made movies I've ever seen. I'm a great fan of Cube as a hip-hop artist; he should stick to that and not attempt to make movies. The plot was absurd, the acting terrible, and the dialogue was wooden and artificial. Save your 99 cents and rent something else.
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Pretty cool movie
xoxtrueblu4uxox17 November 2002
I enjoyed this movie. There was always some drama goin on and that is what I loved about this movie, that they kept comin up w/ somethin to keep the viewer interested, there never was a boring part. I really liked the main character Diamond, I loved the part where she beats the s*** outta Ronnie, and slaps Ebony in the face, they got what they deserved. All in all a very good film, rent it. 8/10 ~xoxTrueBlu4Uxox A.K.A. Sony6~
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All That..
Bachelorsjust4u28 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
THIS MOVIE: The Players Club

Is Good For The Ones That Don't Mind A Lot Of Cursing And Perversion Talking And Nudity And Some Drug Use.


This Movie Is About:

This Girl That's Pregnant In High School Leaves Home Away From Her Always Unsatisfied Father.

She Takes A Job At A Shoe Store. She Meet Ronnie (The Rough Lesbian) and Her Friend Tricks. Introduces Her To The Players Club.

She Notice What It's Like. Nothing But, Vicious and Sexy Female Strippers. Low Life Brothers That Want To See And Get A Piece Of Ass.

Her Baby Father Leaves Her.

She Meets Another Man.

Her 18 Year Old Cousin Moves In With Her.

Her Boyfriend and Her Cousin Caught By Her Having Sex.

She Kicks Her Cousin Out.

Ronnie And Tricks Makes Her Do A Bachelor Party By Herself.

The Cousin Calls Diamond For Help.

She Refuses.

The Cousin Gets Raped.

She Takes The Blame. Go Back To The Players Club.

Beat Up Ronnie and Tricks. Quit The Club

Start Doing News Broadcasting.

The End.

This Movie Is A *** out of **** Stars
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Makes "Showgirls" look like Ibsen
LRonCupboard30 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Ice Cubes writes, directs, produces, acts, makes the sandwiches and thoroughly spoils everything in this movie. If it was made by a white person it would be slated out of hand for being racist. Written in crayon, it even uses a country and western song ("Coward of The County") for the denouement of one of it's plot lines. Yes, beating up the person responsible for the rape of someone you care about really settles the score. It doesn't get more sophisticated than that. Jamie Foxx plays a character who continually denigrates the dancers in the movie until he shows tenderness to one of them at the end for no reason but " that's Hollywood, forget logic". I don't think that this movie featured heavily on his CV .
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phattom7028 April 2007
This movie i have seen five times and i currently just watched it. I cant help but watch this movie whenever it on. I love how it shows a good stripper against all odds working through her struggles to survive through all the obstacles. The movie also show true life of black woman and how violent they are but also shows how there are good sides to them that they actually do care but how it comes out late. Also Fenk Murphy is in it and whenever i see his goofy face i cant help but laugh. This movie is also funny because it has Jamie Foxx in it he always finds away to be funny in serious situations. The ending to this movie is perfect also make money don't let it make you
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Very good first effort for Cube.
Lunchbox27 January 1999
I honestly didn't know what to expect from "another stripper movie." But all in all I was quite impressed. Ice Cube has always been one of my favorite rappers, and once he got into acting he was one of my favorite actors. Players Club definitely shows that Cube also has the potential to write and direct more great films. Though I wouldn't call this a comedy/drama, there are definitely some very funny scenes, especially those involving Jamie Foxx. Definitely worth checking out.
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Bronco2231 October 1998
This was okay, it didn't mix comedy and drama very well- film could decide whether it was a comedy or a drama. I really like Jamie Foxx in another great role. I would like to see him star in more films though, like BOOTY CALL. Overall this film delivered but didn't amount to much. Although, I went into this film expecting to see a titty movie, which it aint, and I'm glad about that, because I wanted to see more than tits when watching a movie with the talents of Ice Cube, Bernie Mac, and Jamie Foxx. **
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