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"THE PLAYERS CLUB"
(1998) (Lisa Raye, Chrystale Wilson) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Comedy: A college student, who's taken a job as a stripper to make ends meet, must contend with the other dancers, as well as her younger cousin who's been seduced by the high paying, fast paced lifestyle.
PLOT:
Diana Armstrong (LISA RAYE) is a single mom and aspiring broadcast journalist. Needing to make ends meet, she decides to take a job as a stripper at The Players Club, a notorious strip joint run by a two-bit hustler named Dollar Bill (BERNIE MAC). Adopting the stage name, "Diamond," Diana learns the tricks of the trade from Ronnie (CHRYSTALE WILSON) and Tricks (ADELE GIVENS), but unlike those two professionals, she hopes to make her money and then get out. Along the way, Diana befriends the club's deejay, Blue (JAMIE FOXX), but keeps her distance from Dollar Bill and his doorman, Li'l Man (A. J. JOHNSON). Both are seriously in debt to a loan shark named St. Louis (LARRY MCCOY) who's determined to retrieve the $60,000 they owe him.

Although her parents warn her against doing so, Diana introduces her younger cousin, Ebony (MONICA CALHOUN), to the world of stripping. Soon, she falls in with Ronnie and Tricks, and Diana begins to worry about her, particularly when some club regulars, Reggie (ICE CUBE) and Clyde (ALEX THOMAS), try to take advantage of her. From that point on, Diana must not only contend with Ebony, but with Ronnie as well, who has now become her adversary.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Probably only if they're fans of someone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong language, sexual content and violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • Considering the occupations and behavior of most of the main characters, only JAMIE FOXX who plays the deejay would come close to being just an okay role model.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 2.5 out of 10
    A movie about stripping (clothes, not furniture or paint), or at least one that puts a heavy emphasis on that profession, is a questionable cinematic proposition at best. Considering the cataclysmic failures of both "Showgirls" and "Striptease" -- two high profile Hollywood films -- it doesn't seem like the best subject matter upon which to base a new project. Nonetheless, freshman director Ice Cube has decided to damn the proverbial torpedoes and sail full steam ahead. That's too bad because this lousy excuse of a movie is about to be sunk by both the critics (no surprise there) and most moviegoers alike.

    Ice Cube, who was featured prominently in last year's "Dangerous Ground," this time dons the trifecta cap (writer/director/actor) and allows others to take the more substantial roles so that he can focus on the movie's elements. Although in the production notes he's quoted as saying that no one had ever examined the Atlanta strip club scene (his reason for doing this movie), his take on stripping isn't much different from other similarly based films.

    There's the standard "good girl" who's stripping only for a short while or just to make ends meet. Although nervous and uncomfortable at first, she soon becomes a pro and has no problems displaying her "assets." Yet she then discovers that things aren't as rosy as she had formerly believed and the story ends not long after that.

    Like "Striptease,"the film tries to balance comedy, drama, and action, but neither succeeds at the balancing act, nor in presenting those individual elements. While some audience members laughed at the absurdities, others loudly exclaimed just how stupid they were finding the film. While we found a few moments mildly amusing including Bernie Mac's outrageous take on the fast- talking, perpetually nervous, and always hustling club owner most of the other moments landed with a dud.

    Of course if you can find humor in a stripper spanking an ATF agent's bare butt with a paddle, or can laugh aloud at the sight of a man running alongside a car that's driving in circles because some thugs have trapped his head in the partially closed car window, then maybe this film's right up your alley. For everyone else, though, you'll just sit there slack-jawed about why anybody would find most of the material even remotely funny. The dramatic elements didn't fare much better either, and their mixture with the comedy scenes often created a rather haphazard feel as if the movie couldn't decide what it really wanted to be.

    The biggest problem is that the motivation behind Diana's decision to strip isn't at all believable. Although she's presented as a working college student, and is weakly convinced by other dancers to join their "opulent" lifestyle, she never makes much money so her continuance in the profession for so long doesn't ring true. Additionally, her character too easily and unbelievably alternates between liking and loathing her job, and stops only because the club finally burns to the ground (where the story begins).

    Performances from the cast vary all across the board, part of which stems from mixing the comedic and dramatic elements, but is also caused by both decent and less than stellar thespian efforts. We found that Lisa Raye delivered an okay take as the lead character, but mainly because this is her feature film debut. More impressive is another cinema rookie, Chrystale Wilson. Although her character is anything but likeable, she certainly dominates any scene she's in. Jamie Foxx (TV's "In Living Color") comes to the forefront at the end of the movie and breathes some much needed life into the story playing Diana's newest beau. Unfortunately, it's too little and too late of an effort to save the production.

    While some viewers may enjoy parts of the film, the majority probably won't, and it definitely won't play well outside of major urban areas. Expect a very short run at the theaters and a quick trip to the video stores. Although occasionally, but only mildly interesting, it's simply not a very good film. We hope that Ice Cube will deliver a better constructed picture for his second time up at bat. We give "The Players Club" a 2.5 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    There's plenty for parents to be cautioned about with this movie. Set in a strip joint, there are many scenes where we see semi-naked women (bare butts, bare breasts) as well as some sensual dancing. Profanity is extreme with more than 60 "f" words and others that fill the picture. Several characters smoke pot, and others drink or are drunk. There are several quite violent fights, a heavy use of weapons to threaten or shoot at people (although no one is injured or killed) and one off-screen rape. In addition, bad attitudes abound from various different characters. If you or someone in your home wants to see this film, we strongly suggest that you look through the content first to determine whether it's appropriate.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People drink at the strip club in several different scenes.
  • Ronnie tells Diana to drink as much as she can and as fast as she can before going out to perform for the first time.
  • Ronnie admits that her first performance was the most degrading time in her life, but after a few more drinks, she didn't mind it so much.
  • Ebony drinks in many scenes and is drunk in one (where she nearly goes and has sex with two men).
  • We see a flashback where Diana appears to be passed out (presumably from drinking) on a sofa and Ronnie comes over to take advantage of her sexually.
  • Ronnie and Ebony smoke a joint, and Ebony later asks her is she has another one before dancing at a party.
  • Some men at a private party drink, and one of them shows Ronnie some marijuana he's got in a bag.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Ebony has a little bit of a bloody lip after being punched.
  • Ebony is moderately bloody after being violently raped.
  • Ronnie is quite bloody and Diana has a little bit of blood from her nose after the two get into a prolonged and violent fight.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Viewers may see everyone involved with women stripping in a club for men as having both. In that case, Dollar Bill has both for running the joint, Ronnie and Trick have both as they persuade Diana to start, she has both for agreeing to do so, and all of the men who frequent the club have both.
  • St. Louis and his men have both as they're in the loan shark profession and use violence to get their money back.
  • Ronnie not only persuades other women to join her profession, but she also gets them to perform "other" services and herself tries to (or does) sexually take advantage of them (ie. She's a lesbian).
  • Reggie and his friend plot to take Ebony, who's very drunk, off to some place to have sex with her (but Diana stops that). Later, Reggie is the one who sets it up so that Ebony gets raped at a bachelor's party.
  • Diana comes home to find her boyfriend in bed with Ebony.
  • Some guys throw a bachelor's party (where they've hired a stripper) for a guy who ends up raping Ebony in the bedroom.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some of the scenes listed under "Violence" may be seen as tense, but most of them are clearly not designed that way (they're trying to be funny or action-oriented).
  • Some guy follows Diana home from the club and then tries to get into her house as she tries to close the door to keep him out.
  • A groom-to-be rapes Ebony at his bachelor's party (we don't see any of it, but do hear the sounds).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Shotgun/Large caliber gun: Used to threaten or shoot at others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Rocket Launcher: Used to fire a rocket that destroys the club.
  • Dollar Bill pulls out a gun when Li'l Man surprises him.
  • Diana's father fires a handgun at a target, and does so to make it clear to Blue what he might do to him if he tries to take advantage of his daughter.
  • Diana fires a gun into the air to get everyone's attention.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Ho'' (whore), "Bitch" (said often toward women), "Nigger," (said often by black people toward other black people), "Shut up," "Jacking off" (masturbating), "Wet dream," "Dumb ass," "Nuts" and "Balls" (testicles), "Fags," "Horny" and "Tramp."
  • Ronnie and Tricks persuade Diana "to use what God gave you" and give up being a sales clerk to become an exotic dancer because it makes more money.
  • Ronnie has a pierced tongue and Ebony has a pierced nose.
  • St. Louis' men have Li'l Man's head caught in the window of their car. Later, they drive around the parking lot with his head stuck there (as persuasion to have Dollar Bill repay his loan).
  • Some thugs put Dollar Bill in the trunk of their car.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Just a few scenes have a mild amount of tense music in them.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Many of the rap songs heard in the movie contain indistinguishable lyrics, but we did hear uses of the "f" word along with word, "nigger."
  • PROFANITY
  • Considering the crowd noise, indistinguishable lyrics in the songs, and poor audio reproduction, the following should be considered a minimum:
  • At least 62 "f" words (25 used with "mother" and 3 used sexually), 33 "s" words, 2 slang terms for female genitals (the "p" word), 1 slang term for breasts (the "t" word), 1 possible slang term for male genitals (the "d" word), 51 asses, 12 damns, 10 hells, and 9 uses of "G-damn," 3 of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "God" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Throughout the movie we see the exotic dancers (strippers) performing in skimpy outfits and see their bare butts (in thong-like bottoms) as well as bare breasts many times. Additionally, we see a great deal of cleavage during the movie.
  • We see Diana's cleavage, her bare butt in a thong-like bottom (as she sensuously dances and also runs her hands along her crotch), and later her bare breasts as she performs.
  • We learn that Ronnie is a lesbian or at least a bisexual, performs at parties for women only, and in a flashback where Diana appears to be passed out on a sofa (presumably from drinking), Ronnie comes over to take advantage of her sexually (we see her spreading Diana's legs). Later, Ronnie corners Diana and tells her, "Either give it to me. Or I'm gonna take it just like I did last time."
  • Ronnie privately performs for a group of men where she then takes out a paddle and spanks one of the men (we see an extreme closeup of his bare butt).
  • A female stripper goes up to a man who's joined them on the stage and she does some pelvic thrusting against him.
  • Diana comes home to find her boyfriend in bed with Ebony (but we don't see anything happening).
  • Planning to have sex with Ebony, a man at his bachelor's party tells Reggie that he doesn't have any condoms, so Reggie pulls one out for him. That man then rapes Ebony.
  • SMOKING
  • People smoke in the club in several different scenes.
  • St. Louis smokes a few times.
  • Ronnie smokes, as does the bartender and a few other people.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Diana and her father loudly argue about where she's going to attend college.
  • Diana is constantly worried about her younger cousin and confronts her several times.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The existence of strip joints and what would cause women to degrade themselves by performing at them.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Some of the following isn't intended to be as serious as it sounds. Nonetheless, that's in the eye of the beholder and the following does occur.
  • A man hits Dollar Bill in the gut and then holds a shotgun in his mouth, telling him he better pay off some of his debt or else. This man then hits him in the gut with the butt of the shotgun.
  • St. Louis' men have Li'l Man's head caught in their car's window. Later, they drive around the parking lot with his head stuck there.
  • Two guys grab Dollar Bill. One of them then repeatedly punches him in the gut and then the face, and the other then kicks him on the ground.
  • A cop smacks Li'l Man on the head, and then slams him down and against a car.
  • Some of St. Louis' men threaten Li'l Man with a large caliber weapon and then burn him on the nose with a cigarette.
  • A bodyguard hits Reggie's friend on the back of the head, causing Reggie to attack the bodyguard. A general melee then breaks out with punches being thrown (and a person is tossed through a glass window) until someone starts shooting a gun that causes everyone to flee.
  • After finding her boyfriend in bed with Ebony, Diana pulls out a gun and fires it at him several times as he tries to get out of her apartment. She then punches Ebony in the face.
  • A groom-to-be rapes Ebony at his bachelor's party (we don't see any of it, but do hear the violent sounds and later see that she's quite bloody).
  • Diana and Ronnie get into a massive and quite violent fight in the dressing room. They throw many punches, slam each other into mirrors and dressing tables, kick each other, etc... resulting in Ronnie being quite bloody. Diana then punches Tricks on the way out, while Blue aims a gun at her and Dollar Bill as he escorts Diana out.
  • St. Louis shows up and repeatedly fires a large caliber weapon in the club, tearing up the walls and other property.
  • A man fires a rocket into the club, causing it to explode.



  • Reviewed April 2, 1998

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