The Personals

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Romance

Romantic comedy-drama of Manhattan Buppies. Village Voice writer and incorrigible hound dog Keith Parker (Malik Yoba) loses two girlfriends and his job after trying to juggle all three. Urged by best friend Mickey (Monteria Ivey) and Mickey's fiancee, Sheila (Rhonda Ross Kendrick, daughter of singer Diana Ross), to give up his philandering ways and try to...read more

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Reviewed by Frank Lovece
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Romantic comedy-drama of Manhattan Buppies. Village Voice writer and incorrigible hound dog Keith Parker (Malik Yoba) loses two girlfriends and his job after trying to juggle all three. Urged by best friend Mickey (Monteria Ivey) and Mickey's fiancee, Sheila (Rhonda Ross Kendrick, daughter of singer Diana Ross), to give up his philandering ways and try to meet a nice girl, maybe through the personal ads, Keith hits upon a story idea: Date 30 women in 30 days and make the experience his comeback story. We see snippets of several dates — introduced by the women's names on title cards — intercut with Keith's home life. The multiethnic women — whom he meets at the same restaurant, to the amusement and admiration of his regular waiter (comic Jim Gaffigan) — are comically eccentric in different ways, but first-time writer-director Mike Sargent's stagy and flat-footed direction dulls nearly every spark that fights to get through. And though the movie preaches honesty (and, by Sargent's account, aims to subvert demeaning mainstream movie cliches of African-American women), the women who answer Keith's personal ads are mostly swimsuit-model types in Wonderbras — except for the mysterious Leah (Stacey Dash), who — in the most ludicrous example of the movie's approach to wardrobe — is practically falling out of her dress. Draggy when it should be sharp and padded with extraneous scenes involving the roommate's rent and other irrelevant subplots, the film suffers most from its gratingly self-centered and unsympathetic lead character. Actresses Delilah Cotto, Linda Larkin, Joie Susannah Lee (Spike's sister) and the Illeana Douglas-like Drena De Niro (adopted daughter of Robert) do at least seize the opportunity to shine in their supporting roles. Filmed in 1998 and playing film festivals as late as September 2000 before going to video, this project first saw life as a staged reading in 1996 by the Visionary Network, an organization Sargent co-founded to shepherd screenplays written by people of color.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Romantic comedy-drama of Manhattan Buppies. Village Voice writer and incorrigible hound dog Keith Parker (Malik Yoba) loses two girlfriends and his job after trying to juggle all three. Urged by best friend Mickey (Monteria Ivey) and Mickey's fiancee, Shei… (more)

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