(1996, US, 121 min) Dir Charles V. Holden Cast Halle Berry, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Chris Tucker, Vivica A. Fox.
An R&B version of A Star is Born with Halle Berry as the Whitney Houstonesque singer Pamela Brown who catches the eye of Vondie Curtis-Hall’s music mogul Eric Hitz. He coaches her to success with the help of dance instructor Ice (Chris Tucker in his usual role of ‘comic relief’) and singing coach Alicia (a cameoing Aretha Franklin whose acting is shaky but still has the voice). Needless to say she becomes a star and she and Hitz become a couple despite the dire warnings of his ex, who is herself a fading star. Unlike A Star is Born this ends on a real bum note that could be seen coming a mile off – Brown’s star goes into descent and she soon finds that Hitz is seeing one of her backing singers (Fox) who he leaves Brown for and then coaches to success as well. At the end Halle Berry’s nursing a big ol’ bottle of vodka and watching Fox picking up some award while blowing kisses to her new husband, the bastard Eric Hitz. Despite a strong, vulnerable performance from Berry the film is let down by pedestrian direction, a predictable plot and, worst of all, an unmemorable soundtrack.