Movie Mom

Another unexpected pleasure I came across on cable recently is a light romantic comedy with some shrewd and audacious commentary on race and gender, whose full title is “I’m Through with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks).” Anthony Montgomery (Ensign Mayweather on “Enterprise”) plays an African-American man who creates graphic novels and uses a cigarette holder. After a series of bad experiences dating white girls (they break up with him and berate him for being inconsiderate), he decides that he should date an African-American girl, calling his quest “Operation Brown Sugar.” The first group of contestants don’t seem right. And then he meets Catherng (Lia Johnson), a writer with magnificent dreds who turns out to be “Halfrican-Canadian.”

What makes the usual romantic comedy complications so fresh and engaging here is the way all of the characters subvert stereotypes. Though Catherine’s book is very successful due to her voice as an author, her literal voice, which she describes as sounding like a Valley Girl, especially when she is nervous, makes her afraid of promoting the book at readings. Jay creates graphic novels (he keeps correcting people who refer to them as comic books), a field with few African-Americans. Meanwhile, his white roommate has to pretend to be (and then become) an expert in hip-hop in order to impress the girl he likes.

Johnson (who co-produced) and Montgomery are enormously appealing performers with real romantic spark. The conventional structure and understated tone help the racial and gender issues a part of the story rather than a political statement. But both the romance and the themes make this a neglected gem, well worth watching.

Parents should know that this movie has some mature material including sexual references and non-explicit situations.

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