Saturday, April 08, 2006
PHAT GIRLZ - Review
I saw Phat Girlz last Thursday at an advance screening here in Boston. The huge theatre was almost full and they showed it in a huge 50 foot screen. I was surprised at the audience, there were people from all walks of life there. There were white, black, Asian, Hispanic, fat, thin, gay, straight, students, yuppies, older people, fat thin, medium. While were waiting for the film to start I heard many people talking about Mo’nique and her sitcom The Parkers.
Well, I have to say I ENJOYED the film a lot! I have never seen so many big and beautiful women acting in one film. I have also never seen a film where big women were the leads and the theme in a positive way. I laughed at the Fat Jokes and the Thin Jokes were off the hook. I left the screening excited. In my opinion this film is years overdue. The message that one leaves with is that you are who you are, accept it.
So let me tell you a little about the story. Jazmin Biltmore (Mo’nique) and her best friend Stacey, (Kendra C. Johnson) works at Bloomfeld’s Department Store. Jazmin lives with her skinny Cousin, Mia, (Joyful Drake) who thinks she is all that because she is skinny. To maintain her thinness all she eats is carrots and lettuce. Their daily lives seem to be quite boring, Stacey has accepted that she is ugly and will never find love, while all Jazmin wants it to be a Size 5. So much so that she created an effigy of herself wearing a size 5 outfit she purchased. Jazmin guzzles diet pills like candy but they don’t work.
One day she enters a Contest sponsored by a Diet pill company. She wins and the three are off on a dream vacation at a luxury hotel/ spa in Palm Springs. Well they start taking advantage of the amenities, they can’t get a massage because the tables are too thin, Jazmin goes into the spa, and the thin women inside quickly exit not because there’s not enough room but because they disapprove of her size.
Well, the three then head to the swimming pool, where a fine and I mean fine brother, Dr. Tunde (Jimmy Jean-Louis) is busy swimming laps, and stealing glances at the three. Of course skinny Mia, thinks he’s ogling her. Tunde approaches the three and introduces himself and the three find out that he is interested in Jazmin. Jazmin is so shocked that the gorgeous doctor in interested in her she’s speechless. Mia says he must be gay. Two of his Nigerian colleagues come over and soon they are fighting over Stacey. It’s hilarious to hear the Yoruban banter over Mia. They disapprove of her thinness and think she must be sick, they call her a matchstick. The thicker doctor (Dayo Ade) ends up with Mia and he is not happy at all.
The African party/dance that the group goes to is awesome and a highlight of the film. Jazmin finds herself in an environment where she is admired. They play a popular African song, Kasongo, during this scene. The upbeat tune and the mood of the scene is so uplifting. Jazmin and Stacey are both happy, while Mia is unhappy because she is ignored. Dr. Godwin is so embarrassed to be seen with Mia he passes her off as his patient to other Nigerians and flirts with thick Nigerian ladies.
Well, Stacey is finally coaxed out of her shell by Dr. Akibo and then she seems to be trying to make up for all the sex she’s missed out on. At the same time a beautiful woman emerges.
As Jazmin and Tunde’s relationship blooms, so does Jazmin’s confidence. At the same time she is worried that the relationship with Tunde is too good to be true. She doesn't feel that it's possible for a handsome man to love her. In the end her fears overtake her sense of judgement. The relationship comes to a screeching halt when Jazmin embarrasses herself in a fit of jealousy. The three friends quickly return home with Jazmin almost having a nervous breakdown because of the inner grief that’s really killing her. After a few days of self-loathing Jazmin emerges with confidence returns to her job and a lucky break helps her launch her clothing line, Thick Madame. After a year the line is huge success and Jazmin is a major fashion designer. In the end she goes to Nigeria searching for Dr. Tunde to apologize for her actions towards him. The location shots of Lagos are fantastic.
The sad thing is that it took visitors from Africa to pull these beautiful women out of the shells they built around themselves. American society has ingrained in too many women that in order to be beautiful they have to be rail thin which for many is just unnatural. This view has caused too many women to hide in shells, and hang their heads in shame. This film says, get out of your shell, be who you are and realize your potential. People ask how a well chiseled handsome man can fall in love with a fat woman. They forget that love is blind. Believe in yourself.
Overall this is a really good movie. There are some parts where the photography isn’t great and it looks like it was shot with a different type camera or something. But technical flaws aside this was a great film and it’s too bad that investors did not put more in this film.
I would also love to see a real ‘Thick Madame’ line of clothes being sold in stores. The outfits worn in the Fashion Show were absolutely stunning. This film is proof that big ladies can be sexy and gorgeous as well. I am looking forward to PHAT GIRLZ 2, and hopefully I’ll get a part in it.