Let’s go back, way back, I’m talking 1998 way back to a time where black movies were mainstream but they offered a level of depth that is rarely seen today. In the era of OnlyFans and the hook up culture, The Players Club is a refreshing and fun take on strip club culture.
Bernie, Bernie and Bernie Mac! He was a major highlight in this film with humor to balance out the terrible acting. He steals every scene he is in and surprisingly moves the plot forward. When a film has comic relief, he/she is usually a side show and rarely has a major impact. Dolla Bill is one of those characters that is more memorable than the lead (LisaRay). The sound track was great and so was the plot, those are two major highlights to showcase. The twists and turns that happen in this feature make this movie memorable because it goes in dark corners. At times the audience forgets that this is a comedy. Charlie Murphy also shines in this film because he mixes the dark gritty personality that made him famous on Chappelle Show with surprising depth near the end of the flick.
LisaRay as Diamond was not good, yes it is her first role in a film and it shows because she is not good. Her acting is forced and seems inauthentic, when you juxtapose her performance with Charlie Murphy you realize how bad her skills are. Chrystale Wilson as Ronnie could have been expanded and examined…why is she so cruel? Why does she hate Diamond so much? What is the deep root of her anger? These are questions that are ignored, especially in the third act where the writer and director could have elevated this film. Finally Diamond’s (LisaRay) father was neglected in a surprisingly good plot, the director and writer (Ice Cube) could have developed his character as well because it is clear from the first scene that he influenced Diamond’s future choices. The father-daughter dynamic is never explored fully and that made this movie worse.
The Final Take
This film hits so many highs with Dolla Bill, Brooklyn (Murphy), strip club culture, sex work and relationships that it’s surprising when it hits some incredible lows. Why not explore the relationship between Diamond and her father? Why not explore why Ebony (Diamond’s cousin) has such a bad relationship with her parents? Why not explore Ronnie’s deep hatred for other strippers? Despite these oversights this is a film that stands the test of time especially in this era and is recommended viewing from Bytown Blog.