First, let me give you a synopsis of the film; Robert (the charming Darrin Dewitt Henson) is having a bad day. First he gets fired from the company his father started, by Nate (Josh Ventura), the man he brought in to resurrect the business. The cloudy day continues when Robert arrives at home only to find his gorgeous but vapid girlfriend of two years Mita (Erica Hubbard of BET's Let's Stay Together) is leaving him for another man. Robert's luck doesn't get any better when he later finds out that the man Mita is leaving him for, is none other than Nate. At his lowest ebb, no job, no woman, betrayed, Robert has a quick encounter with a beautiful woman named Morgan (the enticing Gabrielle Dennis) at his local bookstore. With a little push from his hustler cousin Julian (Christian Keyes), Robert arranges to meet Morgan, and after some initial hesitation, Morgan soon finds herself as attracted to Robert as he is to her.
From this point, the film turns into a romantic comedy with Robert and Morgan going through the usual motions of falling in love, with several potholes in the road as expected. Where this movie falls short is in its ability to build up emotional conflict and drama. For example, one of those potholes the couple encounters is Morgan's ex- husband Hill (the versatile Lamman Rucker) who, unable to keep his wife from leaving, refuses to release a million dollar property to her unless she keeps away from other men. This, and Mita's attempt to come back into Robert's life should have provided ample conflict, but unfortunately, become merely a soft sub-plot. Now please understand me, I was not looking for Tyler Perry crack mama, sadistic husband, drag queen crazy aunts, type drama. What this film lacked were the stair steps that make us invest in the characters, and reveal how deep or shallow their love is.
That being said, where Black Coffee does work is in its funny, witty dialog, charismatic, lovable characters, and an attractive cast, that makes this movie a pleasure to watch. Henson as Robert shows great chops as a leading man, and if this performance is any indication, he should be showing up in more films. Keyes as hustling, wise- cracking Julian steals the scenes he is in and Hubbard's Mita takes a role which could have been annoying but adds just the amount of sass to make her believable. The star of the movie for me is Dennis, who blends a mixture of sophistication and sexiness to her role that rivals any of the A-List girls such as Halle Berry or Kerry Washington.
Director Mark Harris pulls everything together smoothly; reining in his actors so that there is no Perry-ish moments of over-acting, and allowing the movie to glide along at a steady, if not spectacular pace. Adam Lee's cinematography is as smooth and mellow as Harris' direction, allowing the actor's charm and attractiveness to be the film's finest special effect. While you're not going to be taken on the head-spinning roller coaster ride of most of today's romantic-comedies, just like Black Coffee, the film will stimulate and satisfy.