Turn Back the Clock
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Distributed by: Sony Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In looking back on some of G-POP’s older reviews, I noticed that my brother had written some great Turn Back the Clock stories on movies like The Wood, Brown Sugar and Love and Basketball, but he left out an important movie from that era. The Brothers was a 2001 film in the same vein as the ones Jon had reviewed. In fact, it is very reminiscent of some of Tyler Perry’s latest films. So without further ado, I present a Turn Back the Clock review of The Brothers, because before there was Madea, there was Louise.
The Brothers is the story of four successful black men who have been friends since they were kids. Jackson (Morris Chestnut) is a pediatrician whose impending thirtieth birthday has him visiting a therapist to examine his fear of commitment. Brian (Bill Bellamy) is a lawyer who revels in his independence - women would call him a dawg or a player. Terry (Shemar Moore) is a successful businessman who, once known for his womanizing ways, has finally decided to settle down. Derrick (DL Hughley) is the perfect husband and father, despite the fact that his wife has an aversion to certain sexual demands.
Despite all the drama in their lives, these four friends make time to enjoy each other’s company, playing basketball at least once a week before hitting the club. It is there that Terry reveals his plans to marry, much to Brian’s chagrin. In Brian’s opinion, settling down is the ultimate sin which leads to putting former friends on the backburner and a life fraught with strife. Of course, he is faring no better, deciding to stop dating “sisters” and start expanding his horizons. Although surprised at Terry’s sudden change of player heart, Jackson and Derrick have their own issues. Derrick is having problems in the bedroom while Jackson has no problems in that category - he can get a woman to do whatever he wants in bed, he just can’t seem to allow them to stick around long enough to become a serious relationship.
As the movie progresses, Jackson finds a woman with possible staying power in Denise (Gabrielle Union), but a secret threatens to push Jackson away forever. Meanwhile, cold feet put Terry in a horrific position, Brian’s womanizing ways start to backfire on him and Derrick and his wife (Tamala Jones) end up separated. Through it all, there’s Louise (Jennifer Lewis), Jackson’s mother, a woman not afraid to call ’em as she sees ’em and dispense advice to the lovelorn women in her midst.
Now, on the surface, you could see how The Brothers would be an interesting romantic comedy, but if you dig deeper, you’ll find something more. This film contains a running commentary on the lives of black men and women in that period of time. The movie presents some inspiring ideas, showing that a broken home and living in the projects can be an obstacle, but should in no way prevent you from achieving your goals. Despite presenting the attitude that “brothers” and “sisters” should stop looking outside of their race for happiness, the movie does go out of its way to show that black women and white women are pretty much the same when it comes to needs and wants.
What I really enjoyed about this film are the back stories of the characters which go a long way in explaining their actions. Louise’s failed marriage has made Jackson fearful of commitment. Brian’s mother’s attitude toward men and her inability to express love to her male children after their fathers left her explains quite a bit about Brian’s attitude throughout the film. Terry’s thoughtfulness towards women’s issues make him almost the perfect man until you hear the ode to women he wrote in younger days. That poem helps you understand the cold feet he experiences at the prospect of marriage and the poor way in which he handles…or should I say runs away from…those fears. Learning about the nature of Derrick’s marriage explains his need to have his way when it comes to certain things in the bedroom.
The Brothers was back then what Tyler Perry’s movies are today - drama draped in comedy used to offer an uplifting message to its viewers. The individual storylines tie into each other quite nicely. The comedy is spot on, coming to the rescue at moments where the drama may be a bit much. DL Hughley is terrifically funny in this film, especially in the outtakes that appear during the end credits. Jennifer Louis is also quite funny, especially in scenes with her daughter, portrayed by Tatyana Ali. My particular favorite scene featuring Tatyana Ali is one in which she explains what women have to do in order to become a stronger race. Reject the…well, I’ll let you figure that one out.
At times, people may find this movie to be too honest about certain aspects of relationships. Well, I say sometimes you need a little honesty to get you to realize where you’re at in life and whether or not you actually want to be there. The Brothers is one of those movies that will make you laugh, make you sigh (thanks to all that tantalizing eye candy) and make you think. To me, that is the outline of the perfect feel good movie worth watching more than once or twice.