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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 33 - B.A.P.S. (1997)

B.A.P.S. (1997; New Line Cinema)
Speaking of utterly offensive films, B.A.P.S. (an acronym which stands for Black American Princesses; that is not even an accurate abbreviation if you think about it), is a movie that degrades its stars, depicting them as stupid, shallow and through them manages to fulfill every single stereotype that many people have worked very hard to put behind them.  This is a film that is meant to be a funny romp about two black women that make it big in America.  Do they make it big by becoming successful business women?  Nope!  That wouldn’t be offensive enough!

Two waitresses (Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle) from the suburbs of Atlanta decide to move to L.A. to make it big in Hollywood.  They dream of opening a beauty shop that doubles as a restaurant specializing in soul food.  They try to get work in the entertainment industry for money in the meantime and ultimately end up trying to scam a wealthy elderly man (Martin Landau) out of a fortune.  

This is one of the most offensive films ever made.  It really is.  It depicts its two leads as dimwitted but conniving, loudmouthed and gaudy, and it depicts most of the remaining characters as snobbish and/or just plain stupid.  The screenplay relies on ruthless stereotypes that aren’t funny, they are just plain vitriolic.  This is a mean-spirited film as it treats its characters as fools and assumes its target audience is dumb enough to find this muck funny.  Well, they were dead wrong.  This one was a flop.  American audiences found it offensive and critics universally bashed it.  

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