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Deliver Us From Eva (R)
Focus Features
Official Site
Director: Gary Hardwick
Producers: Paddy Cullin, Len Amato
Written by: Gary Hardwick
Cast: Gabrielle Union, LL Cool J, Essence Atkins, Yuri Brown, Dartanyan Edmonds, Johnny Gill, Meagan Good, Mel Jackson, Robinne Lee, Jaszmin Lewis, Nicole Lyn, Duane Martin, Kenya Moore, Mark Swenson

Rating: out of 5

From the beginning of Deliver Us From Eva, the old Ray (LL Cool J) is gone. The player of all players, the man among boys, has moved on to a higher level. His face adorns a funeral altar. His symbolic ashes lay silently in an urn.

The premise of the movie is simple. The story revolves around a family of four successful, beautiful women, who are all committed, except for officious Eva (Union). Eva, a hardworking and sharp-tongued health inspector, has steered and molded her younger sisters since their parents passed when she was 18. She serves as both their mother and father, forsakes her own ambitions for their greater prosperity, and becomes an adamant feminist and hater of men in the process.

But her sistersí boyfriends are sick of Evaís rules and regulations. The boys join forces to eliminate prying and manipulative Eva from meddling in their relationships. They want to rule their love nests like all real men should, and stopping Evaís incessant jabbering is a sure way to get their manliness back and their ladies into bed. They resolve to pay a man to court Eva away from Bitch-ville. A little shish-boom-bah might warm her icy heart up.

So Ray shows up. He licks his lips in all the right places, loves Evaís spicy beans, and is being paid five thousand smackers from you-know-who to do and say all the right things. As the atmosphere heats up around Ray and Eva, the tension cools for the masterminds and their lovers. That is, until Ray and Eva develop the perfect relationship and the men start getting compared to romantic, chivalrous, and honest Ray. The plan foiled, the boys transfer matters back into their own misjudging hands, and subsequently ruin Ray and Eva in the process.

Heartbroken, Eva accepts her overdue promotion and moves to Chicago. But L-L-love is hard to resist. What we learn at the end of the movie is that Ray has indeed moved on, not to the netherworld, but to the level of true blue love.

LL Cool J plays a charming romantic lead, and the women in the audience were verging on orgasmic bliss during his screen time. Straying from his usual supporting roles, LLís looks should override his undeveloped (but promising) acting chops for most audiences.

Director and writer Gary Hardwick has fashioned an uncomplicated romantic comedy, which proves slightly likeable despite its predictable plot line and foreseeable ending. The fast tempo keeps the attention ante up. As banal as most romantic comedies are, Deliver Us From Eva does hold its own in the comedic zone. The film is jam-packed with side-splitting and unforgettable one-liners. The zingers compensate for most other shortfalls, including the mediocre acting. Despite their inadequacies in developing a cohesive ensemble cast, the comedic timing of the actors is worth mentioning.

More importantly, however, you get to see LL half-naked.

And we all know that the ladies love Cool J.

óSandra M. Ogle


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

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