So, hands down, the worst thing about the movie is the poetry. Maya Angelou, what were you thinking? No really guys. Maya Angelou actually wrote the poetry. Maybe it wouldn't seem as bad if it weren't plopped into the middle of this painfully cliche story and recited as a voice-over as short-hand for psychological development, but god, it's painful.
Janet Jackson is not a good actress. But she does have a remarkable facility for making lots of different facial expressions. And, you know, she's hot. Clearly, the makers of the film realized this and decided to capitalize on it. So they were like, well, how can we present her psychological growth in a compelling fashion? Let's have her stare somewhat contemplatively at the ceiling while lounging around in her bra. That'll work. Sure, why not?
Tupac is, of course, phenomenal. As always. Even with crappy dialogue and a mostly caricatured role. He actually makes you care about the character. You might even get a little misty-eyed at the conclusion.
But probably the most fascinating aspect of the movie is its thoughtful reflection on the problems that premature ejaculation and binge drinking cause in a relationship. It's a stirring subplot centering around the relationship of Regina King and Joe Torrey, and you know, I found it genuinely engaging! Joe, if you can't hang for more than 2 minutes, you need to find another way to keep your woman happy! Regina, you gotta lay off the sauce!
Bonus feature: a random "stock" film playing at the drive-in at the opening of the movie, starring none other than Lori Petty and Billy Zane, who must have had a BLAST shooting it. Awesome.
So yeah, it's not a good movie. But it smuggles in some highly entertaining tangents, as if they had though, well shit, why not, right? It's almost like they realized that people are willing to sit through awful dreck just to watch Janet or Tupac, and decided, well, ok, we won't go so far as to actually make it a GOOD movie, but we'll throw you a bone here and there. Thanks guys.
Fun trivia facts:
*Janet Jackson, or her people, or whatever, demanded that Tupac get an STD test prior to filming any sex scenes. Tupac refused, saying that he would take 3 tests, even, if they were actually gonna get it on, but otherwise, they could fuck off. Good for him - that's some bullshit right there. Anyhow, apparently this is why there is no hottt sex scene in the film. I wonder if Janet Jackson is kicking herself over that one. She damn well oughta be.
*Tupac is wearing a Chicago White Sox hat throughout the movie. Represent!