[Screen It]


(2018) (Tika Sumpter, Tiffany Haddish) (R)

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Romantic Comedy: A career woman with a checkered romantic past must decide if she can find true love with a goodhearted ex-con, who's turned his life around.
Danica (TIKA SUMPTER) is a successful career woman, climbing the corporate ladder at a major New York advertising agency. Her professional life is going well, but her personal life has had its ups and downs. She had previously been engaged to a man, who jilted her for another woman. Since then, she has gotten into a relationship of sorts with a man named Charlie who she has texted and telephoned for the past year … but has never met or even seen. At the same, she has a regular flirtation with local coffee shop owner Frank (OMARI HARDWICK), who clearly is smitten with her and gives her free coffee and a rose each morning.

Danica's best friend, Callie (AMBER RILEY), urges her to go out with Frank. But Danica has a list of "must haves" in a man, and he only fits some of her criteria. She then finds out he is an ex-con and a recovering drug addict and has even less interest despite the fact that Frank has obviously turned his life around and is a respectable member of society and the local business community. He even hosts AA meetings at his café after hours.

Complicating matters is Tanya (TIFFANY HADDISH), Danica's recently paroled sister with a motor mouth and an outsized libido. Their mother, Lola (WHOOPI GOLDBERG), refuses to take Tanya in. So, Danica opens her home up to her sis and then tries to keep her on the straight and narrow as she reintegrates back into society. Trying to get in good with Danica, Frank offers Tanya a job and that puts Tanya a little too up in their business. Then, the real and seemingly perfect Charlie (MEHCAD BROOKS) enters the picture, and Danica has to make a real decision on who she wants to end up with.

OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
For films not screened for the reviewing press, we only provide a few paragraphs of critical analysis.

In a romantic comedy, you're really supposed to root for the two leads to get together in the end, right? But, man, oh man! In "Nobody's Fool," I was really, REALLY hoping that the lead guy, good-hearted coffee shop owner Frank (Omari Hardwick), would steer clear of Danica (Tika Sumpter), one of the more unlikable female leads I can recall in this kind of flick. I'm not going to spoil the ending. But just the fact that I spent well over half of this film pulling for their permanent and lasting break-up at the end and for Frank to go sprinting off in complete joy and relief as the closing credits rolled should tell you that "Nobody's Fool" doesn't work on a very fundamental level.

Throughout, I was questioning, "Eh, who's the fool here?" Is it Frank, an ex-con who's cleaned up his life, has become a respectable member of society, and is hung up on a woman who doesn't respect him? Is it Danica, a career woman making six figures who can't see herself with a man with Frank's checkered past, but is instead infatuated with a dude she's been texting and phoning for an entire year and has never actually met or even seen? Or is the fool… well … me for paying cash money to see this dreck?! Oh, and Tiffany Haddish is in this as Tanya, Danica's recently paroled, alarmingly promiscuous sister, and she tries so desperately to save writer-director-producer Tyler Perry's moribund screenplay that I thought the poor woman was going to stroke out or something. What do I mean by that? Let's just say that unfunny dialogue is never, EVER made funny the louder you scream it!

Sumpter has been a charming and engaging actress on screen before in the "Ride Along" movies and "Get On Up." But here, she is saddled with a character who lacks empathy and is beholden to a list of "must haves" in a guy that she believes Charlie, the oil-rig engineer she's never met, possesses. This is never once believable.

Then, we eventually meet Charlie, and the film doesn't play fair there in making him a viable rival to the wonderful Frank. In person, he is made to be obviously and spectacularly wrong for Danica. A better film would have made the choice between the two actually hard for her. But instead, Perry turns this guy we don't meet for well over an hour and a half of screen time into some weird sketch character of annoying vanity and freaky sexual proclivities.

Throw in Whoopi Goldberg in an unfunny turn as Danica and Tanya's pothead mother and a subplot involving Danica losing and then winning a big advertising account at work that plays out as the least believable workplace drama since Dakota Johnson's preposterous rise in the publishing world in the "Fifty Shades" movies, and you've got one really bad movie, folks. Don't be a fool and waste your time and money on it. This rates no more than 2 out of 10 (T. Durgin).

Reviewed November 1, 2018 / Posted November 2, 2018

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