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How to Be a Player (6-Aug-1997)

Director: Lionel C. Martin

Writers: Mark Brown; Demetria Johnson

Music by: Darren Floyd

Producers: Mark Burg; Todd Baker; Russell Simmons; Preston Holmes

Keywords: Sex Comedy

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Bill Bellamy
7-Apr-1965   Deaq on Fastlane
Gilbert Gottfried
28-Feb-1955   Loudmouth Jewish comic
Beverly Johnson
13-Oct-1952   Supermodel
Max Julien
1945   The Mack
Bernie Mac
5-Oct-1957 9-Aug-2008 The Bernie Mac Show
Elise Neal
14-Mar-1966   Yvonne on The Hughleys
Amber Smith
2-Mar-1972   Supermodel, Michelob shill
Lark Voorhies
25-Mar-1974   Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell


Bill Bellamy   ...   Drayton Jackson
Natalie Desselle   ...   Jenny Jackson
Lark Voorhies   ...   Lisa
Mari Morrow   ...   Katrina
Pierre   ...   David
Jermaine "Big Hug" Hopkins   ...   Kilo
A. J. Johnson   ...   Spootie
Max Julien   ...   Uncle Fred
Beverly Johnson   ...   Robin
Gilbert Gottfried   ...   Tony the Doorman
Bernie Mac   ...   Buster
Stacii Jae Johnson   ...   Sherri
Elise Neal   ...   Nadine
J. Anthony Brown   ...   Uncle Snook
Amber Smith   ...   Amber
Devika Parikh   ...   Barbara
Bebe Drake   ...   Mama Jackson
Gillian Iliana Waters   ...   Shante
Tara Davis   ...   Cute Party Girl
Marta Boyett   ...   C. C.
Jazsmin Lewis   ...   Pookie
Licia Shearer   ...   Nikki
Jerod Mixon   ...   Kid #1
Jamal Mixon   ...   Kid #2
D. D. Rainbow   ...   Jealous Girl
Natashia Williams   ...   Pink Bikini Girl
Edith Grant   ...   Peaches
Jesse Collins   ...   D. J.
Melissa Cross   ...   Sales Girl
Claude "Pete" Bryant   ...   Chess Player


Review by Teen Movie Critic (posted on 17-Jun-2005)

Credit Def Jam's How to Be a Player for one thing: It makes its fellow urban sex comedies Sprung and Booty Call look like models of restraint and good taste. Worse yet, it almost makes them seem funny by comparison.

And that's about all this tasteless and extremely unfunny comedy will probably be remembered for -- if it is at all -- except for serving as a debut vehicle for MTV "veejay" Bill Bellamy, whose dubious "talents" include bugging his eyes out and leering whenever possible.

Let's just say that based on this performance, Bellamy will probably have a hard time finding another starring role, just as the film's director, Lionel C. Martin, a music-video vetern, will have trouble finding another film gig.

It should also be noted that this is one of the most sexist comedies in recent history -- not only are all the male characters reduced to "dogs" who are looking for one sexual conquest after another, all the female characters evidently appreciate such attention and encourage it!

Bellamy stars as André "Dray" Action Jackson, a record label talent scout whose success with the ladies is the stuff of legend. Not only does he have his choice of women every morning, afternoon and evening, he seems to keep it all secret from his sweet-natured, if naive, girlfriend, Lisa (Lark Voorhies).

Of course, not all women are charmed by Dray's "act," especially not his bitter sister, Jenny (Natalie Desselle). In fact, she and her fellow anthropology student Katrina (Mari Morrow) are using him as a case study for their class.

At the same time, Dray's buddies David (Pierre), Kilo (Jermaine Hopkins) and Spootie (A.J. Johnson) are apparently studying him too, in order to get tips on how to "get a groove on" with women. This rankles Jenny so badly that she steps up her revenge campaign against her brother.

She and Katrina find Dray's computerized "little black book" and invite his different girlfriends to the same party, in order to study how the sexual predator performs in a hostile environment. But to their surprise, he thrives and Katrina is more than a little charmed by his attention to her.

As mentioned, the film has a lot to overcome just based on its sexist and almost misogynistic premise and attitudes. Then there are the awful writing, direction and performances.

Bellamy is terrible, obviously. In his first starring role, he displays so little charm that it seems laughable to cast him as ladies' man. And aside from Desselle, it appears the only qualification for his female co-stars is that they bare their chests to the camera.

But believe it or not, they're all wonderful in comparison to the (thankfully) brief cameo by comedian Gilbert Gottfried as a smut-obsessed doorman.

How to Be a Player is rated R for rampant profanities, nudity, sex, a few vulgar gags and references, some violence, a brief scene of drug use and a couple of racial epithets.

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