B.A.P.S. | Chicago Reader

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This tale of two Georgia waitresses (Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle) who move in with a Beverly Hills multimillionaire (Martin Landau) when one of them is hired to pose as a descendant of the woman he loved and lost seems deliberately designed to have its subtext misconstrued. On the surface the story rewards Nisi (Berry) for modeling herself with increasing success on white glamour archetypes, but something deeper is going on here. Robert Townsend (The Five Heartbeats) directs some absurdly broad comedy infused with classic emotions and set in sumptuously detailed environments. The pageant is peopled with black and white caricatures who represent the finest and the basest in human nature with surreal sincerity. It's a celebration of bonds that are thicker than blood and demonstrates above all that fame-and-fortune fantasies can blur divisions of race and class as persuasively as they can exaggerate them (1997). The screenplay by Troy Beyer (who also plays Landau's lawyer) is her first.

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