Friday, August 12, 2011


I watch a lot of movies. There is little in the theaters now that I haven’t seen or will probably see before the weekend is out. It’s a “habit” of sorts that was necessary for a previous business operation. Now it’s a “bad habit” I enjoy for the sake of pure entertainment. Occasionally I will see a movie that did not inspire me in previews, which most folks passed right on by, that turns out to be an absolute delight. Midnight in Paris was one of those movies. I thoroughly enjoyed it and that surprised me.

Recently I sat through Russ Pharr’s new film 35 and Ticking, which features an all-star ensemble cast with Nicole Ari Parker, Tamala Jones, Kevin Hart, Keith Robinson, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Meagan Good, Mike Epps, Clifton Powell, Jill Marie Jones, Kym Whitley, Luenell, Dondre Whitfield, Darius McCrary and Aaron D. Spear.

As with most movies with predominately black casts, 35 and Ticking has gotten little, if any promotion. It hasn’t faired well at the box office but it’s a movie that exceeded every one of my expectations. I was prepared to be thoroughly annoyed by bad writing, vulgar humor, and every other stereotype associated with a black film and Russ made me feel foolish for doing so.

Russ Parr is somewhat of a dinosaur where the entertainment industry is concerned. He’s been around the block a long time. He has worked behind the scenes at ABC, worked as a stand-up comic, and he has even appeared in bit parts on a few sitcoms as well as some commercials. You may know him best from the radio and the “Russ Parr Morning Show”, a nationally syndicated radio show with around 3.2 million listeners in 45 cities. He also has five film and television projects on his directorial resume.

His latest film, 35 and Ticking, is the story of four best friends, Victoria, Zenobia, Clevon, and Phil who are all approaching the age of 35 and struggling to build the families they’ve always dreamed of. While Zenobia (Parker, “Soul Food,” “Brown Sugar”) is still looking for a man, Victoria (Jones, “Castle,” “One on One”) is married to a man who doesn’t want children. Clevon (comic Hart, “Not Easily Broken,” “40 Year-Old Virgin”), meanwhile, is too geeky to get a woman, and Phil (Keith Robinson, “Dreamgirls”) is already married with children, but his wife (Jones, “Girlfriends”) is not very interested in being a mother. The subtext of this film centers around the important theme of building a lasting relationship and is delivered with the right balance of drama and humor.

I absolutely LOVED this movie. The writing was smart and the jokes were funny. It flowed with emotion, was well acted and was beautifully filmed. Russ deserves major props for this accomplishment. He told a great story with flair and integrity. I hope he continues to bring us quality films about black experiences and that he will one day garner the acknowledgements and success that he rightfully deserves. Like a great book, this one left me immensely satisfied.


Anonymous said...

Could not disagree more. This movie was terrible. It had incredible potential, but the writing was just bad. The characters were under developed, the jokes were not funny. Just a waste of talented actors time.

Deborah Mello said...

I respect your opinion but when I take this one in context with others of the same vein, it did a much better job of entertaining me!