February 2003
Deliver Us From Eva

Reviewed by Chika Chukudebelu

Deliver Us From Eva
Distributor: Focus Features
Director: Gary Hardwick
Screenwriter: James Iver Mattson, B.E. Brauner and Gary Hardwick
Producers: Paula Weinstein, Barry Levinson, Len Amato and Paddy Cullen
Cast: LL Cool J, Gabrielle Union, Duane Martin, Essence Atkins, Robinne Lee, Megan Good, Mel Jackson, Dartanyan Edmonds and Kim Whitley
Running Time: 105 min
Official Site: http://www.deliverusfromeva.com/


The latest installment in the Black romantic comedy genre employs the same formulaic and over-the-top storytelling tactics that unfortunately are becoming more and more commonplace from Hollywood… not at all what you’d expect from an independent shingle.

Gabrielle Union stars as Eva Dandridge, the professional health inspector with 3 married sisters is constantly dishing out relationship advice. The sisters take “the word of Eva” back to their respective spouses much to their frustration since it usually means they won’t get their way. Finally fed up with Eva’s meddling, the guys get together and decide that if Eva had a man of her own, she’d have less time to get in their business. So they set out to find the perfect player to do the deed. He has to be charismatic, very smooth and strong enough to break through Eva’s mile-high brick walls. Enter: Ray. Played by LL Cool J, Ray has all the required attributes and for a measly $5000, he’s willing to take Eva off their hands. However what starts out as a scheme, blossoms into genuine romance as they both let their guards down and get to know the other’s true self.

Gabrielle Union comes out of her prim and proper shell as the obsessive-compulsive health inspector that has a history of leaving restaurant managers in tears. Eva’s snappy comebacks and extreme personality show a more comedic side than what we’re used to seeing from Union. While she does a better job than expected, it doesn’t carry through the end of the movie. LL as the suave-player-with-a-heart also gets to flex his comedic muscle. While the two are a good match, both are victim to a stale and predictable storyline. The other three guys in the film are waste. Duane Martin, who hasn’t had a big role since “Above The Rim”, is used sparingly. Although their roles seem like a Greek chorus, it didn’t translate well as it fell flat. The plot is piecemealed together from bits and pieces of other romantic comedies with nothing fresh to offer.