The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on February 7, 2003 · P8
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · P8

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Friday, February 7, 2003
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P8
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By ELEANOR RINGEL GILLESPIE eringel@ajc.com LL Cool J, star of the appealing comedy romance “Deliver Us From Eva,” said it first, last week on “Today.” Pushing the movie’s crossover appeal, he noted, “I hope everybody in Kansas City and Boise will give it a shot. It could just as well star Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.” It sure could. In fact, at one time, it might have. The original script was about four white sisters living in Seattle. Director Gary Hardwick (“The Brothers”) switched it to four African-American sisters living in Atlanta. (Some scenes were shot locally.) It’s an inspired idea. Not only is this a funny and romantic movie, but it proves, yet again, that movies can and, in some instances, should be colorblind. Eva (Gabrielle Union) is smart, beautiful and successful. She has a promising career and three baby sisters she’s taken care of since their parents died. Now the sisters are married, but Eva can’t keep out of their lives. Her intentions, even her instincts, are good, but her behavior is needlessly blunt and often condescending. The husbands are going nuts. So they hire a certified lady’s man, Ray (LL Cool J — aka James Todd Smith), a smoothie in need of some quick cash, to woo her and get her mind on something else. Well, you can imagine what happens — probably exactly what happens — but it doesn’t really matter. The fun is in getting there, a comic battle of the sexes with a slight “Taming of the Shrew” subtext. “Eva” isn’t as full-blown glossy as “Waiting to Exhale” or “Soul Food” or “You’ve Got Mail.” It’s sassier and takes itself a lot less seriously. Sometimes the humor gets a little broad, but no more so than some of the stuff in last year’s fairy tale blockbuster, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The romantic leads are delightful. Union not only oozes sexy self-confidence, but she also has crack comic timing. She makes Eva’s know-it- all-ness credible without alienating the audience. Rapper LL Cool J is typically cast in muscle roles (“Rollerball,” “Any Given Sunday”). It’s a nice change to see how charming he can be as a romantic leading man. Too many Hollywood types are afraid of taking this sort of risk, of making a movie that doesn’t fit the market- researched slot. We could use more filmmakers like Hardwick, people who can see the possibilities beyond the cli- chés. REVIEW “Deliver Us From Eva” Grade: B Starring LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union. Directed by Gary Hardwick. Rated R for sexual situations and innuendo. At metro theaters. 1 hour, 35 minutes. The verdict: Delivers what any pre- Valentine’s Day movie should: hearts and flowers and good jokes. AT THE MOVIES ‘Eva’ delivers a fine, fun romance Focus Features LL Cool J (left) plays a lady’s man hired to deflect Eva’s (Gabrielle Union) busybody attentions from her fed-up in-laws. RPRVA0207OP8FPRVA0207OP8 Preview All Zones 8P 8P RR RR *FWA07OP008CY* *FWA07OP008CY* *FWA07OP008MA* *FWA07OP008MA* *FWA07OP008YE* *FWA07OP008YE* *FWA07OP008KB* *FWA07OP008KB* BlueRedYellowBlack BlueRedYellowBlack A P8 Friday, Feb. 7, 2003 / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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