Def Jam's How to Be a Player

on August 06, 1997 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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In a time in which monogamy is used as a spelling bee word, "Def Jam's How to Be a Player" isn't going to have a lot of people openly praising the movie in mixed company. A person just saying he liked it could be enough to spark agitated discussions: The title refers to someone who has one main mate and yet intimately socializes with several others; a Player knows when to say the right things and when to bluff. For date-night moviegoers, one of the film's target demos, the best strategy might be to cheer for the same gender as one's companion.
   Sensitized because she was dropped like a bad habit by her boyfriend, Jenny ("B.A.P.S.'" Natalie Desselle) targets her brother Dray (Bill Bellamy, best known from cable's "MTV Jams"), who she feels is a womanizer who treats his women like whores. She concocts a scheme to put a kink in his game(plan). With the help of her friend Katrina ("Virtuosity's" Mari Morrow), she cracks his organizer's access code and proceeds to invite Dray's multiracial collection of femmes to the same party, with the aim of creating a hostile environment that will make this Player repent and be reborn.
   Ballamy plays Dray in a way that isn't likely to seem overly offensive, thanks to knowing nods to the audience. A supporting cast humorously blend in their characters to make the tale's multiple scenarios flow. One who perpetrates Playerism (Pierre) and two learning to be Players (A.J. Johnson and Jermaine Big Hugg Hopkins) are comically depicted. The film is funny and of course will appeal more to men, but women who've done a little Playing themselves will enjoy it just as much as the ones who want Dray to be caught. Starring Bill Bellamy, Natalie Desselle, Mari Morrow and Pierre. Directed by Lionel C. Martin. Written by Mark Brown and Deetria Johnson. Produced by Mark Burg, Todd Baker, Russell Simmons, Preston Holmes and Stan Lathan. A Gramercy release. Comedy. Rated R for strong sexual content and language
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