Movie: Ethnic comedies are often some of the funniest movies released. After all, they have a large body of material to pick from and plenty of stereotypes to skewer so with a decent script and director, they have a better-than-even chance of succeeding. On the other hand, many of them resort to lowest common denominator (LCD) material, rendering them a waste of time. Such is the case with B.A.P.S.
The movie centered on a couple of ghetto women, played by award winning Halle Berry as Nisi and Natalie Desselle as her friend Mickey. The two want out of their dead end jobs as waitresses (working for a slave driver, Bernie Mac) and will do anything to move ahead in the world. After seeing a commercial for a music video dance contest, the two pack their bags and head to Los Angeles in hopes of scoring it big. That neither has any dancing ability is only a minor issue to them, and they soon find themselves working for a rich White man, Isaac (Jonathan Fried), in a scheme to bilk his rich uncle, Mr. Blake (Martin Landau), out of a large estate. The gals are not aware that they are being used and soon find the old man appreciating their quirky habits as he reminisces about a Black housekeeper he had a thing for in his youth.
The usual cookie cutter plot and characters appear in the regular places here and director Robert Townsend provides very little originality to the movie. There were a lot of jokes and maybe ten percent of them made me smile but aside from the very limited screen time of Bernie Mac and some moderate physical humor on the part of the cast, there really wasn't much to like here. If this is the extent of Halle Berry's comedic talent, I'd suggest she stick with drama or science fiction although it'd be fair to point out that the writing of the movie was as much to blame as the limited range of the cast. The fish out of water aspects of the movie might've been better portrayed but too often the movie focused on the outlandish attire and jewelry of the leads. Landau looked out of place in his role as did most of the rest of the cast too.
To me, it looked like the whole movie was just a sit-com that was stretched way too far in terms of the material. It might've worked as a half hour show but as a full movie, no way. I'm going to rate this low budget release as a Skip It since the content was so weak, the lack of extras, and the simple fact that you'd find better entertainment at random on free cable after 10 PM. None of the characters were sympathetic and without some actual comedy to prop this dog up, you'd do well to pass it up.
Picture: The picture was presented with a choice of either a 1.85:1 ratio non-anamorphic widescreen or a 1.33:1 ratio full frame version, both in color. There was some pattern noise, minor artifacts, and grain but it looked pretty good for a low budget movie. The fleshtones were accurate and the detail good so I'd say the picture quality was better than the content of the movie.
Sound: The audio was presented with a choice of either a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround English track or a regular 2.0 stereo track, both with optional English subtitles. While neither choice was exactly stellar in terms of quality, there was some separation between the channels with the vocals and music fairly well defined.
Extras: Trailers and a weblink for DVD-Rom were all that came on the DVD.
Final Thoughts: The content was lame, the comedy non-existent, and there was nothing to enjoy for me. As a fan of Ms. Berry, it pained me to watch how poorly she could act in an inappropriate role and the others were pretty bad too. Maybe if the movie had been about Bernie Mac's character, it might've been funny and worth recommending.