Jessica Sinclaire's Thug Love (2009) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
23Oct/110

Jessica Sinclaire’s Thug Love (2009)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Some days reviewing a film involves being a terrible person. It's true! The other night I listened to Jacob struggle with his review of Dolphin Tale, wracking his brain on how to express both his indifference towards the film without emphasizing how creepy he felt some of the undertones were. Mind you, I did it a little more succinctly in my own review of Dolphin Tale, but it's the struggle here that's important.

It takes an unimaginable amount of time, effort, and creativity to put together even the cruddiest of motion pictures, and, even when I'm badmouthing various productions for things I personally don't like in them, I still have a yearning to point out its positive traits.

People saw fit to put their energy into this! There must be some redeeming value in this!

But, lo, today there is no redeeming value, no joy, nothing. Jessica Sinclaire's Thug Love is a film that inspires nothing but a call to a suicide hotline.

Abandon all hope, ye who read this review.

Let's start off with the obvious: this film is not about Jessica Sinclaire. It is about a woman named Destiny who must discover what makes her happy. This plot is revealed to us in one of the first scenes, a five minute long monologue to a stuffed bear as she lays in bed. She's really hoping to reconnect with her distant husband, and they're meeting for lunch the next day. The bear seems indifferent to the news.

This is William, and William's only facial expression until the end of the film.

She indeed goes to meet with her husband, William, in a Subway, only to discover he's brought his lawyer and a mess of divorce papers along. This situation indicates you the level of William's charm, and, indeed is about as classy as he gets for the rest of the film. Shortly after sitting down and explaining to her slowly that he's leaving her and there's nothing she can do about it, he makes various... gestures and insinuations that the only reason he stayed with Destiny is because of her proclivity in oral sex.

His lawyer is a little grossed out by that part, and a little annoyed when William starts bragging about the new girl he's banging. This might give Destiny something worth pointing out to the judge but, luckily for William, she pretty much is the idiot he's called her out as. Even after these revelations, she's desperately trying to get back with him. He's so confident that he's completely destroying her life and taking such a joy in it that he actually follows behind her after she leaves Subway just to stand ten feet behind her smiling like an idiot.

It's here that she runs into Troy, the titular thug and an amateur photographer. She gets his number after he tells her that she'd make a sweet picture, and turns around to see William still smiling. Will nothing wipe that smirk off of William's face?

And... transition!

Destiny's job is in 'advertising', which is fantastic because that means that talking nonsense is apparently part of her job. Hell, I'll be nicer than that: Destiny is perfect for the advertising field because she's so goddamn stupid, she can sell herself on anything, and that's exactly who you want facing clients.

She also works with all of her friends, who are, and, being polite here, also really goddamn stupid. She has the skinny black woman friend, the fat black woman friend, the stereotypical white friend  who wishes she were black-- and what a great gag cliche that is! I remember when no less than Carmen Electra herself did the same one note joke in Dirty Love and it was painfully unfunny there, too.

The advertising company is run by a stodgy old white man who apparently had these people forced on him, since he seems utterly displeased and baffled by every action they take. And, like all international advertising agencies, there's a big Mr. and Mrs. Smith poster on the wall.

Outside of their nondescript advertising jobs, the women workout together. I'm sure you've seen movies or television shows that have the women fresh from exercising, talking about some development and possibly having scenes from a few seconds earlier come flashing back. The reason why you don't normally do this while our characters are working out-- especially where they're vigorously working out-- is because anyone who works out is short of breath and sweaty. We get a five minute scene of our characters panting out lines and vigorously going, and it's admittedly real, but kind of hard to take seriously.

And if director Marcello Thedford was fumbling towards realism in any way, the absolute soulless existence of these characters should perhaps have been more handily ridiculed. Instead, we learn that what Destiny's friends agree upon must be right-- she needs a new man. And that must be Troy.

Troy also teaches yoga!

Troy is a fresh, exciting young man... who... uh... okay, I can't lie. Troy mumbles through most of his lines, and generally seems unpleasant. His and Destiny's first date is told in a montage, since we, the audience, have no reason that we'd want to see these characters interact.  This montage has the song "I Wanna Hit You With This Thug Love" played over it. Yes, really.

Then again, after the montage, this is our sample dialogue:

"What are your plans and goals?"
"Haven't really got none, besides, you know, being happy."

After some dry humping on the first date, their second date is more exciting as he gets her into an erotic trance and makes love to her in a parking garage. Look, I've screwed plenty in parking garages so that's all well and good, but he then follows this up by taking her out to fill lures her to engage in a three way.

And this scene is endemic of the film. Every scene can be described as something that you could spend a week trying to explain to someone in a fit of dazed confusion. "I saw this movie and there's one scene where our heroine is taken to a party... and it fast cuts between a woman licking her lips, while a woman speaks with a reverb so deep that we can't understand it, and this scene lasts like five minutes, and it turns out she was taken there just to make out in front of people."

Three dates of carnality and Destiny invites Troy to a work event. This predictably goes badly since Troy is a 'thug' (or is supposed to be one) and Destiny's boss is 'white' as 'hell'. She and Troy split after he almost gets her fired but, luckily, her boss is so white, he gives her a promotion instead. She decides to celebrate by going back to Troy at the egging of her friends, who insist that a good man is all any woman needs.

Jessica Sinclaire only appears in a brief scene where she gives Destiny some advice about a broken heart. She also came up with the story here. ... yep.

The film luckily ducks away from that moral at the last second, as Troy is revealed to be two timing Destiny, and William is still, unbelievably, a smug prick. Destiny takes both men down by insulting either their lovemaking techniques or their penis size. And then she walks up to the camera and smiles: the end.

Director Marcello Thedford lingers on unending closeups of Destiny's buttocks, breasts, and legs. The moral he's crafted is disguised as female empowerment, though comes closer to saying that telling a black dude that his dick is small is the most devastating thing in the world. All the men of the film are destroyed when their sexual performance is insulted-- that is Destiny's revenge.

This movie functions on a strange level of reality that can be closely attuned to another film called The Room, though this film is not quite up to the technical accomplishments of that misbegotten masterpiece. Half of the dialogue is muted, the camera work is fuzzy, and most scenes either linger on incessantly or don't register long enough to make a lick of sense. By the time we've hit the last act and Destiny is screaming at Troy, "What kind of juice did you get the bitch?! Apple or orange?!" we've entered an entirely different realm of narrative cohesion.

Destiny, in the midst of insulting one of her former beau's member, says calmly:

"I've learned, I've grown and I've developed."

Yeah, no. I fully believe Destiny hasn't changed an iota, as no one in this film has. It's a strange, depressing testament to nothing.

Posted by Danny

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