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The 100




How to Be a Player
(1997)
Reviewed by Reed Hubbard
Rating: 7 Beans

ap music, with its heavily misogynistic overtones, has fostered a new genre of movies. These films are about black men and their attempt hustle as many women into the sack as possible. Just call them “Booty Movies,” and call “How to be a Player” the quintessential booty movie.

Meet Dray (Bill Bellamy). He’s a player. What’s a player, you ask? A player is a guy who can sleep with six or seven different women simultaneously and never get caught. Now being a player isn’t easy. It requires a lot of time and money, but that’s no sweat. Players live in a world where everyone has boatloads of cash and no one works for it. Players drive bad cars, wear stylin’ clothes, live in massive cribs, hang wit’ dey homeys, and never lift a finger to do a lick of work, except to score with another woman.

Well, Dray is a perfect example. We enter his world on a typical day. One of his ladies stops by on her way to work and makes him breakfast. He charms her by hanging a sock out of his pants, but she’s in a rush. As she’s leaving, in comes his sister Jenny (Natalie Desselle, of B*A*P*S fame) who totally disapproves of Dray’s ways. In fact she, in her characteristic eloquence, calls him a “roach-ass ghetto pimp” and all his women “hos.” Dray leaves and Jenny and her friend Katrina (Mari Morrow) get to work, trying to bust Dray.

While they’re ransacking his apartment for evidence, Dray picks up his crew, consisting of his cousin David and his homeboys Kilo and Spootie. These four have a really tough day ahead as they go cruising around to all of Dray’s women, go to Dray’s mother’s barbecue, then head out to a pool party that evening. Jenny and Katrina, meanwhile, break into Dray’s electronic rolodex (figuring out that Dray’s password is a five-letter word for a part of the female anatomy) and invite all his women to the pool party, assuming that he’ll get busted. But a player never gets busted! That’s one of the many “tips” Dray gives you, the viewer, on how to be a player. It’s a shame he doesn’t tell you how to afford a lavish lifestyle while merely banging broads and hanging out. THAT’S the player secret I want to know! To heck with tips like, “don’t sleep with a woman in your building” (she might screw up your car).

There’s not really a story here, but there are some funny moments, most of which are provided by Dray’s cousin, David (Pierre Edwards). In one scene, David, Kilo and Spootie are sitting in the car while Dray boinks a married woman inside. The husband, Buster, (Bernie Mac) comes home and he and David get into it. I really laughed as they went at it, especially as Buster says how much he hates “…punks like you! You don’t work, you don’t vote!” David also has some funny moments at the barbecue when the drunken uncle at the grill only gives him a burnt piece of chicken.

The movie is full of the requisite foul language, sex talk, and other jive-ass nonsense, but it’s not nearly as offensive as other movies of the same stripe. In fact, I actually found myself laughing at times, and I hate this type of film. It’s still not good, though, so don’t go rent it expecting “Boyz N The Hood.” As a protagonist, Dray is nothing more than a drooling lothario who fancies himself as some super bad operator. Except for David, the rest of the cast is just a bunch of nobodies. Jenny is the most offensive as her performance borders on minstrelsy. For example, in Dray’s apartment, Katrina says, “I’m going to check his drawers.” Jenny responds, “Girl, he don’t wear no drawers! He nasty like dat!” Oooh, oooh, oooh! As a side note, “How to be a Player” stars Lark Voorhies of “Saved by the Bell” fame, making her the second actress from that show to demean herself and possibly ruin her career by starring in a crummy movie.

The movie even stars Gilbert Gottfried, guaranteeing it a future spot on USA Up All Night. I got a few laughs, so I guess “How to be a Player” was worth a buck fifty, but not much more. Be on the lookout for more tapes in the how-to series from Def Jam, including “How to be a Gangsta,” “How to be Obnoxious,” and the ever-popular “How to Buy a $50,000 Lexus on $6.00 an Hour.”

“How to be a Player” is rated R because no one in the target audience would have paid to see it if it were rated anything less.






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