August 19 - September 1, 2005 • Vol. 26 - No. 34

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Four Brothers—In Every Sense of the Word
by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists

John Singleton usually chooses to work with socially conscious melodramas about the African-American experience. After all, that's what Boyz n the Hood and Baby Boy were all about. He did, however, alter his taste when he directed 2Fast 2Furious, but all in all he remains true to his calling. So, why does Singleton deviate from his usual and now direct what is essentially a remake of the western The Sons of Katie Elder? You will have to see for yourself to figure that one out!
Four Brothers opens with Evelyn Mercer, a pleasant grandmotherly-type entering a neighborhood store and catching a young black boy shoplifting. She lectures him about the evils of crime and, of course, he leaves a better person. Unfortunately, two masked men enter the store having never benefited from an early intervention as the previous teen did. She, as well as the cashier, are killed; (don't ya just hate it when that happens?)! Evelyn is (briefly) played by Fionnula Flanagan (Tears of the Sun and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood). She was a social worker who placed thousands of children in foster care and was well known and loved in her neighborhood. There were four boys she could not find homes for, as they were much too difficult. Therefore, Evelyn simply adopted them herself!
The story begins to unfold when these four brothers return for her funeral. The eldest brother Bobby, once known as the Michigan Mauler to hockey fans, is a volatile hothead. Playing Bobby is Mark Wahlberg (The Italian Job and Rock Star), who has no problem fitting into the genre of street hoodlum. Then there is Angel, the handsome ex-marine, tough-guy played by Tyrese Gibson (2Fast2Furious and Baby Boy). The only son who stayed in Detroit is Jeremiah, portrayed by Andre Benjamin (Be Cool and half of the singing duo Outkast), who is a union man hoping to make it big in urban renewal. The youngest of the brothers is Jack, the aspiring musician, played by Garrett Hedlund (Friday Night Lights and Troy), who apparently survived previous foster care of a very deviant nature. The brothers discover that mom was not the victim of a random shooting, but was actually murdered by professionals. Now the boys embark on a mission of vigilante revenge. The director, Singleton, was not so much concerned with the mystery of who killed Evelyn as he was with the relationship of the four brothers. Their love for their mother is a strong bond that they share.
The film is violent and sometimes a little too hard to believe. For instance, after a shootout at the house (almost like the shootout scene from the O.K. Corral) the police handle it like it happens every day. This is present day American, not the old west, where scenes like that took place every day. There was also a scene involving a car chase where the brothers and “bad guys” are shooting at each other from their cars. If you roll through a stop sign in South Florida, there will be at least two cops on your TAIL in NO time! Well, if all movies had to be completely realistic, who would go see them?

The Blonde: This film was like (as if I care) Death Wish meets Dirty Harry meets Bonnie and Clyde (with brothers) meets Godfather meets The Punisher. To be perfectly honest with you, this film really didn't hold my attention. In fact, I just got back today from an out-of-town trip and all I kept thinking was, "I could be home doing laundry right now!” I thought everything about this film was weak! If I have to say something nice, the brothers were all cute!

The Maven: I loved the natural, understated, chemistry between the four brothers. Mark Wahlberg did a great job as Bobby Mercer, the glue that holds the brothers together. His performance in this film is as electric as he is in many of his other films like The Big Hit, The Three Kings and Boogie Nights.

The Blonde: Listen Mav, I enjoy Marks acting performances as well, yet I thought, in this film, he was OVER-acting! In addition, I must admit that I am not a real fan of his! Now if Mark took his clothes off as he did in Boogie Nights, I would have been much more centered and totally more focused in the storyline! By the way, doesn't he look exactly like Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees?

The Maven: AHH, NO, not through my vision. Speaking of MY vision, why is your head stuck in the ‘70s today? First, the Monkees and what the heck were you wearing at the film tonight? Your hair in pigtails, a baby-blue satin hat that didn't go with anything you were wearing, white shorts, a pink belt and black sandals. I mean, what were you thinking? Are you getting in touch with your inner teen? If so, I remember those white boots and hot pants you used to wear. NOW THAT WAS A STATEMENT!

The Blonde: First of all, we both know I am NOT that old to even remember the ‘70s! Are you perhaps projecting and thinking of your youth? AND Hey… back off, I just got off a ship cruise. I haven't slept for days! If I want to be mean like you, then I would ask YOU when was the last time you had your roots done and had fills? I feel much better now, how bout you?

The Maven: I would feel better now had Garrett Hedlund's towel in that shower scene had fallen off.

The Maven: Not to mention adding more spice to this film!

The Maven: If the director were a woman, we would have seen more skin. Garrett first caught my attention in Troy as Patroclus, the cousin to Brad Pitt’s Achilles. What a smile he has! He possesses a screen presence that foretells a bright future in Hollywood. I couldn't take my eyes off of him!

The Blonde: Well, I don't have too, WE ARE DATING NOW! I have seen him without the towel as well!

The Maven: UMM… don't you think you are just a tad too old for him?

The Blonde: NO and hello… Demi and I are best friends!

The Maven: Okay then, just do yourself a favor if you want to keep him, and don't EVER wear that outfit you wore tonight with him. And don't ever let him see you in pigtails, even on the tennis court!

The Blonde: F.Y.I., Garrett loves me in pigtails and everything I wear or don't! Back to the film, I feel that this story would have been better off with a touch of heart in between all of the violence. The weak humor didn't cut it! There was too much of a hole concerning the brother's GREAT love for their mother. I would have enjoyed seeing more flashbacks involving their relationship with her. The story should have had more of their childhood and growing up years which would have connected the viewer more strongly to them as adults. It really shows how uninterested I was in this script when I kept drifting back in my mind to the outrageous hike in gas prices this week!

Story continued on bottom

The Maven: I do agree with you about the outrageous prices of gas, but NOT this film. I happen to like mindless escapism, so I enjoyed this film. What could be more fun than an urban thriller with four guys who tear up at the mere thought of their mom, but at the same time think nothing of shooting someone that was involved with her murder? I loved the furious gunfights, the fast action, and especially the way the brothers managed to track their mom's killers.

The Blonde: Just turn on Jerry Springer for all of the above! I didn't buy any of the tears over their mom. I didn't find their acting genuine at all!

The Maven: Tell me one thing! Why does George W. Bush need a five-week vacation?

The Blonde: What the heck does that segue have to do with Springer or tears?

The Maven: Nothing, but answer my question! Just what does he do that requires five weeks off to recover from? Was it that exhausting to pick a guy for the Supreme Court? Maybe he got tired of reading the list of dead troops from Iraq?

The Blonde: YEAH AND NOT ONLY THAT MAV… isn't that “turn off your cell phone” commercial before the movie begins (where the lady doesn't get to sing because the cell phone rings) starting to bug you too?


The Blonde: Yeah, they totally need a new commercial! At least, let her sing a note first this time… or better yet, get a cool band that everybody loves to do the ad and let them start to sing before the phone rings!


The Blonde: Maybe his ranch is fun?  Maybe there is “oh so much to do there!” Let's go visit the ranch?

The Maven: This creative suggestion from a girl who wears pigtails out in public?

The Blonde: OUCH…OUCH…OUCH! What do you want from me? I've been up since 6 A.M., traveling, and didn't have my STARBUCKS today!

The Maven: Well now you tell me! YOU'RE EXCUSED, well except for the satin blue hat!

The Blonde: Did you stop taking your Zoloft this week?

The Maven: How did you know? Anyway, I do have something that we both can agree on this week! We're both going to buy the soundtrack of this film. The music ranged from Motown classics to Jefferson Airplane. Obviously, the Blonde and I saw this film differently! I feel the actors carried this movie and not the writing. If you take the film too seriously, you won't like it. There is a visceral kick and you want to root the brothers on, even though their tactics are almost as bad as those they are fighting. I rate this a B for brotherly love, however it is violent so if you are squeamish, avoid it!

The Blonde: HO-HUM…YAWN-YAWN! Nothing carried this film, including the actors! They just got by. I thought this movie was boring, even with all the violence. Ladies, if you go see this film with your man, he owes you FIVE CHICK FLICKS! IF TOO MUCH KILLING, VIOLECE, AND VULGARITY thrills you, then you will enjoy this film. These brothers are a far cry from the Hardy Boys! This film seemed like ten hours to me! I rate Four Brothers a D+ for don't go! If you want a violent film then rent Goodfellas—at least it was done well and the acting was great! As for your movie snacks, if you must go, I suggest Milk-Duds to go with this dud of a film!


The Blonde: Cool, but let's get you some ZOLOFT FIRST!

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