As we roll through the 90s we have to go back to the more “forgotten” flicks, the B-sides or in this case…the C-side. How To Be A Player directed by legendary music video director Lionel C. Martin is a sex comedy that tries to be Boomerang but fails.
Bill Bellamy does his best on this script but it falls short compared to his stand up comedy. One of Bellamy’s strengths is being loose and high energy, this can be seen in his role as Jimmy Sanderson on “Any Given Sunday” but his role as Dray in this movie is more smooth. Dray is calculated and seductive, making him a teacher and less of a comical buffoon like his sister Jenny played by Natalie Desselle. The comedy hits near the end and the final act leaves you wanting more. Since this is a Def Jam production, the sound track is absolutely amazing and a major highlight.
Sadly there’s a lot of bad, starting with everyone’s acting (except Bellamy). It feels very very amateur and the characters leave us wondering…”why should we care?” When the audience starts asking this question…you’ve lost them. Lark Voorhies also disappoints in this movie because she seemed to be a great contrast to Bellamy in the first act but disappears in most of her other scenes. The pace of this film also disappoints because it felt rushed, with story lines that should not fit. According to some reports this was a movie based on Russell Simmon’s life…which tells me that he was disorganized. Yes the playboy player lifestyle is fun but the writers could have explored the other side of being a playboy. This felt more like a fairy tale than a comedy with extra levels of substance and yes…a comedy movie does not have to be a drama but a little tension wouldn’t hurt. Finally the quality felt very B or C level which is sad because it has a lot of potential.
The Final Take
Instead of catching this movie, please go watch Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy. One would argue that this is a rip off or remake of that classic but it did not have to…”How To Be A Player” had all the juice to be great but not enough squeeze. This is not the movie we wanted.