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"HAV PLENTY"
(1998) (Christopher Cherot, Chenoa Maxwell) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Mild None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None Heavy Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Minor Minor Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Romantic Comedy: A man and woman who couldn't be more different from one another flirt with romance.
PLOT:
Lee Plenty (CHRISTOPHER CHEROT) is a struggling author suffering from a serious case of writer's block. Living in New York and house and cat sitting for his rich friend, Havilland Savage (CHENOA MAXWELL), Lee just can't get his romance novel to work. Thus, he accepts Havilland's offer to join her and her family and friends to celebrate New Years.

Arriving in Washington, D.C., Lee meets Havilland's sister, Leigh Darling (ROBINNE LEE) whose new marriage to Felix (REGINALD JAMES) is shaky due to her contemplating taking a job with Havilland in New York as well as Caroline Gooden (TAMMI KATHERINE JONES), Havilland's flamboyant friend who's the first to hit on Lee.

Refusing her offer, Lee must then contend with romantic advances from Leigh as well as Havilland, who in turn must decide between Lee and her on again-off again boyfriend, Michael Simmons (HILL HARPER), a successful recording artist.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Not unless they're big fans of romantic comedies, as this film doesn't have any "name" performers to draw them.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CHRISTOPHER CHEROT plays a struggling novelist who occasionally acts immature and childish (blowing bubbles in his drink with a straw, etc...), but who refuses the many romantic advances paid to him by several women.
  • CHENOA MAXWELL plays a young, but rich woman who curses some and can't decide between Lee and Michael.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4.5 out of 10
    Taking its title from a combination of the lead characters' first and last names, "Hav Plenty" is an updated version of the traditional screwball romantic comedy. Playing off the age-old romantic themes of opposites attracting each other, as well as that of everyone but the leads being aware that the two are obviously destined to be together, this film is more charming than it is outrageously funny. Even so, it might just win you over if you give it the chance to weave its goofy romantic spell over you.

    That is as long as you don't mind the absence of well-developed characters or for that matter, a well-constructed plot. Newcomer and Orson Welles wannabe Christopher Cherot (as director, writer, producer, editor and star -- whew!) shows potential in his multifaceted role, but this film is ultimately a little less than satisfying and definitely has the look of a low budget, freshman attempt.

    Nowhere close to approaching the classic romantic comedies such as "The Philadelphia Story" or "When Harry Met Sally" (and nowhere near being in the same league with Welles' work we just used that as a clever reference to the many tasks Cherot handled), the film should make a tiny dent in this summer's heavy barrage of movies before finding a more comfortable place on home video.

    As a performer Cherot does exude a certain self-deprecating charm, and is easily likeable in his role. Reminiscent of other comedic performers such as Tommy Davidson, Cherot tries to play the straight man to the lunacy around him and some of his reactions are quite funny (including one brief moment where he feigns being asleep when someone enters the room). The rest of the performers, however, unfortunately come across as not much more than standard issue sitcom players.

    The same holds true for the main plot that doesn't ever really go anywhere or gain much momentum. Scenes occasionally just appear out of the blue and stand out for their obvious plot contributions. For example, Lee and Havilland conveniently visit her grandmother (who's never seen again after that) just so that she can tell them that she knows they belong together (it appears she has a gift or sense for such things).

    As the writer and director, however, Cherot could have played the scene to a greater comic effect. Instead of having the grandmother boldly proclaim her romantic "vision" in front of many others (thus inspiring some comic awkwardness or denial, etc...), the scene takes place in private and the comic potential is squandered.

    Much of the film comes off that way. Other moments -- such as the two leads arguing about whether she "drops" names of the famous people she knows (both continually repeating "No, I'm not." "Yes, you are.") -- quickly become irritating and aren't funny. Cherot also occasionally breaks the "fourth wall" by addressing the camera (and therefore the audience), but these moments aren't done enough to be effective (think of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off") and aren't clever enough (think of the old TV show, "Moonlighting") to be as much fun as they should be.

    Even so, Cherot's winning performance makes up for some of those deficiencies/problems, and he does manage to include some subtle but funny bits. Whenever one of the women makes a romantic move on Lee, a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire" begins playing ("I'm driving in my car. I turn on the radio....'Cause when we kiss....Fire...") but then abruptly stops when Lee stops the action. And when Lee enters Havilland's bedroom nervous about what's going to happen next, he wears a Mickey Mouse T-shirt where Micky has an astonished look on his face and his lips are pursed in an "Ooh" gesture.

    It's possible that the film might have been better had Cherot not chosen to tackle so many simultaneous roles. Even seasoned performer/directors have a difficult time pulling off that stunt, and the film's overall weakness certainly shows. Even so, this young talent demonstrates a lot of potential and it won't be surprising to see more polished features from him in the future. As this one stands, however, it gets just a 4.5 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Profanity earns the film its R rating with at least 25 "f" words and an assortment of others. There's some brief sexual talk and several women throw themselves at Lee as they try to seduce him into bed (but nothing happens). Beyond some imaginary scenes with a little blood, a few bad attitudes, and a real and staged thrown punch, the rest of the movie is mostly free of major objectionable material. Even so, you may want to look through the listings just to be sure for yourself or for anyone else in your home who wishes to see this movie.

    On a separate note, for those affected by strobe-like effects (flashing bright lights), there is a brief scene at the beginning of the movie where videotape footage pulsates in a near strobe-like fashion.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Havilland tells Lee to bring a bottle of champagne with him, as well as a "dime bag" (she's joking about the latter).
  • Havilland pours Lee some egg nog that she says is spiked.
  • Lee and Leigh drink wine.
  • The group drinks champagne on New Year's eve.
  • People drink in a bar while Lee and Havilland have martinis (in a dream).
  • The group has what may be wine with brunch.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Lee has a dream where he continuously spits out his own teeth from his mouth along with what looks like blood mixed in with his saliva.
  • Havilland finds an old photo of Lee that shows his face all red and torn up looking or blistered (perhaps from acne, but it's never explained).
  • After banging his foot on Havilland's bed, we see that both Lee's foot and hand are rather bloody (but this appears to be a fantasy).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some may see the film's (comic) portrayal of women throwing themselves at Lee has having a little of both.
  • Havilland comments that Michael cheated on her with another woman, and he later tries to make up with her.
  • Leigh chases Lee around the kitchen wanting a kiss from him (despite being married to Felix).
  • Felix punches Lee in the gut thinking he's after his wife (he isn't).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Dirty ass m*thf*cker," "Bitch" (often said by Havilland in describing herself), "Bastard," "Pissed," "Screws up," "Screwed up," "Idiot," "Piss," "Twit," "Sucker," and what sounded like "bone" (for sex).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • We heard several uses of the "f" word (used with "mother") during a song, and there could be more, but we couldn't understand some of the lyrics.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 25 "f" words (9 used with "mother"), 13 "s" words, 3 slang terms for breasts (the "t" word), 10 hells, 5 damns, 2 asses, and 2 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "G-damn," For God's sakes" (written) and "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Caroline comes on to Lee and says, "Oh, you won't regret this" which she follows with "Do you want to go to bed?" She then climbs onto his clothed lap (on a sofa) and straddles him, but when she tries to kiss him, he turns his head away. Caroline later tells Havilland that Lee is gay (her belief based on that).
  • We hear that Michael has a song called "Forty Ounces of Love." We never hear the song, but Lee reads a few lyrics that state, "I'm a crack addict and I'm addicted to your crack."
  • Kissing on her bed (but clothed), Havilland tells Lee, "I'm not going to let you make love to me. Are you angry?" He says that he isn't.
  • Michael tells Havilland that he wants the "whole Havilland experience, from the boardroom to the bedroom where I'll be licking on your clitoris."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Leigh and Felix are having slight marital problems (but no kids are involved).
  • Havilland briefly mentions that her parents got divorced when she was a young teenager.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The many women who throw themselves at Lee trying to get him to sleep with them.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Havilland slaps Lee so hard that he hits the floor (after he tells her that her sister came on to him).
  • Felix punches Lee in the gut thinking he's after his wife (later we see the same as it's played out by actors in a film within this film).



  • Reviewed May 15, 1998

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