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How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Starring Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs and Whoopi Goldberg
Written by Terry McMillan and Ron Bass
Based on the novel by Terry McMillan
Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Website: www.foxmovies.com

IN SHORT: Whoopi's half rocks.

Dateline NBC did a piece (about a fortnight back) on how Hollywood was going overboard pairing really old, like 60 plus, male stars with really young, twentysomething femme stars. Someone didn't finish their research 'cuz 40 year old Stella (Angela Bassett) landed 20 year old Winston (Taye Diggs) while on vacation in Jamaica and she is grooving nicely, thank you very much.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back comes from the team of writer Terry McMillan and Ron Bass, who previously adapted McMillan's novel Waiting To Exhale. As always, Cranky makes no comparisons to source material but, like the adaption of Waiting, Cranky felt like he missed something in Stella. It's either that or huge hunks of the story were crunched into a form where you miss one line you miss a vital connection.

Stella is a decidedly upper level stockbroker. She's 40, divorced, and has an eleven-year old son named Quincy (Michael J. Pagan). Her local friends are a rowdy lot and quite vocal in their determination that Stella get a life. Stella demurs, citing "responsibilities," but a very funny fantasy sequence involving a television ad for a trip to Jamaica kicks her out of her doldrums and sends her packing to the islands, to catch up with best friend Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg).

Cranky had a truly fine time during the first hour, as Goldberg tears up the screen with bawdy humor. Add to that the fact that both Bassett and newcomer Diggs look especially fine in bathing wear against a background of impossibly empty Jamaican beach resorts and you've got the makings of good fluff. The second hour, in which our happy loving couple begin dealing with the realities of their generation gap, was decidedly a crawl for me, 'cuz I didn't buy the romance. Then again, the target for this flick is African-American female, and I flunk that test on all counts. The demographic sitting around me loved Stella. Cranky's own particular female friend, Caucasian, slapped me down good and sent me home alone.

So Cranky went off and climbed on his own plane. While you're reading this, I'm worshiping the Great God of Skin Cancer on the beaches of California.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to How Stella Got Her Groove Back, he would have paid . . .


Same rating I gave to Waiting, 'cuz I only liked half of that flick, too.

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