Deliver Us from Eva
Three men plot to rid themselves of their mates' controlling older sister Eva by paying a cash-strapped ladies' man to romance her.
Sure, Eva Dandridge (Gabrielle Union) is not the most agreeable person around, but she has her reasons. At the age of 18, her parents died and she was left to raise for her three younger sisters, Kareenah (Essence Atkins), Bethany (Robinne Lee) and Jacqui (Meagan Good), on her own. In the process, she gave up all of her hopes and dreams and became very controlling and overbearing--especially when it comes to her siblings. Her sisters' mates think she's a tyrant, though, and devise a plan to get her out of their hair--for good. They hire confessed ladies' man Ray (LL Cool J) to sweep the evil Eva off her feet and distract from the Dandridge fund, the family trust fund she oversees. Ray is supposed to woo her and then dump her so that she will accept a job she has been offered in a different city. But the plan goes awry when Ray develops genuine feelings for Eva, who in turn truly begins to trust him. But if Ray tells Eva about the circumstances of how they met, he risks losing for her good. What will he do? As far as romantic comedies goes this film is pretty formulaic but it does have some snappy dialogue.
LL Cool J, who has managed to make a pretty smooth transition from music to acting, takes on his first leading role in Deliver Us From Eva. Although he has starred in films as diverse as the buddy crime thriller The Hard Way, the horror throwback Halloween: H2O, the actioner Deep Blue Sea and the drama Any Given Sunday, his appeal is obviously in the romantic arena. At least the women at the screening I attended think so: They swooned every time the rapper-turned-actor licked his lips. Although Cool J held his own as the suave Ray, his performance was definitely dwarfed by Union. After playing supporting roles in a number of films including the thriller Abandon and the romantic drama The Brothers, Union gets a chance to shine here as Eva, the tough-loving older sister. Union belts out her dialogue with a sharp tongue and her timing is right on. Having thus succeeded at comedy, it will be interesting to see her performance in the upcoming actioners Cradle 2 the Grave and Bad Boys 2. Dartanyan Edmonds (Rangers) deserves an honorable mention as the funniest of the sisters' guys. Almost every line he spills generates laugh-out-loud moments thanks to his frenzied delivery.
This is director Gary C. Hardwick's second time at the helm, his debut being 2001's romantic drama The Brothers. With Deliver Us From Eva, Hardwick delivers a pic that has some genuinely funny moments, which, refreshingly, aren't all revealed in the trailer. Union unquestionably steals the show as Eva, but the scenes revolving around the three boyfriends/husbands follow close behind as some of the film's better moments. Having to sit through the Dandridge sisters' weekly bonding ritual (which involves the foursome getting buffed and manicured at Bethany's beauty salon) however, is another story. The movie gets schmaltzy here and drags, making this 105-minute picture feel drawn out. But despite its weak moments, the film works thanks to Union, Cool J and the supporting cast, who whip up great comedic performances from an otherwise formulaic script by scribes Barbara Brauner and James Iver Mattson.
Despite some really funny moments and good performances from LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union, Deliver Us From Eva ultimately fails to tip the scale from so-so to good.