(Air Date: Week Of 03/12/97)
"Love Jones" is worth it all for the two minutes in the opening scene when poet/hero, Darius, performs his beat love poem at a Chicago club where a circle of young black artists meet to philosophize, heckle each other, and read their poetry. Handsome Darius meets cute photographer Nina at the bar, and gets her name just before his reading, which he dedicates to her: They call me the Brother of the Night / And right now I'm the blues in your left thigh. You might get the idea that this performance is very, very warming.
But when Darius re-approaches the sceptical Nina, she tells him she's into something than sex -- she writes L-O-V-E on his hand -- and says, "Good night, black people."
That's the beginning of the on and off courtship between Darius and Nina -- like Shakespeare said: The path of true love ne'er ran straight. Nina can't resist Darius' next advance, they have girl talk and boy talk with their best friends, they're infatuated as hell, but cynical in the next breath -- they're just kicking it, you know. But the home life they're having in this swanky apartment where she's housesits looks really cozy.
So Nina's reptilian old boyfriend, Marvin, crawls back, wanting her to move to New York with him and try again. She tells Darius, hoping he'll beg her not to go. Too bad, he doesn't, and she goes to New York. That doesn't last, and she's back in Chicago, sniffing around for Darius, only he's with someone else. So she dates one of his friends, there's a scene at a party, other and so it goes.
O.K., you know they'll get back together, but when, how? Along with the wit and romance, there're too many curves on this path to true love, and the story gets a little flaccid. "Love Jones" is O.K. at 110 minutes, but at a compressed ninety minutes it could have been dynamite. Reminds me of what the film "Swingers" had going for it -- it didn't have lots to say, but it knew when to cut a scene, and cut to the chase.
But "Love Jones" is fun and hip and original, and proves that what the bard said about love is still true.
Copyright 1997 Mary Weems
"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index
"Movie Magazine International" Home Page