Movie Review: Skin and sin and church tumble together in “Chocolate City”

chocWhat’s that old showbiz maxim? “Just give the people what they want.”
That’s the byword for “Chocolate City,” an African American riff on a certain stripper movie smash of a couple of summers back.
“Magic Mike ain’t got NOTHING on you,” the unemployed hustler Chris (DeRay Davis) gushes to his baby brother Michael (Robert Ri’chard of “Coach Carter”).
And he’s right. Even though Channing Tatum’s “Magic Mike” had a sharper script, funnier characters and more pathos, Michael is ripped and rhythmic enough to take it all and drive the ladies crazy.
A college student without the cash to take on a girlfriend (Imani Hakim) or help his widowed working-two-jobs mom (Vivica A. Fox), Mike answers a men’s room solicitation from MC Princeton (Michael Jai White) and joins the dance crew at Chocolate City. And Ladies’ Night will never be the same.
The costumes — cop, soldier, Spartan and cowboy — and lack of them mimics “Magic Mike.” The melodrama — keeping his sideline secret from his mother and would-be girlfriend — duller.
There’s rage and diva behavior in the macho dressing room — “Who’re you calling SENSITIVE?”
And there are rules — “Give them the fantasy. Give’em what they can’t get at home…But never get personal.” Because there’s more touching and grinding in “Chocolate City,” and every Sunday — this being an African American comedy shot in Tyler Perrytown (Atlanta) — there’s a scolding from the preacher.
Writer-director Jean-Claude La Marre plays that hip and happening man of the cloth, dropping cracks Chris Brown, “the club,” the stoner comedy “Friday” and “the faint smell of Stoli-cranberry” into his sermons. But he’s the highlight of his movie.
His leading man and that lead’s love interest have no chemistry. His master of ceremonies has no flash. The funny supporting cast has little to do. It’s got one violent scene, some African American comedy cliches (clueless church ladies, etc.) and not nearly enough laughs to carry “Chocolate City” from appetizer to dessert.


MPAA Rating: R for sexual content throughout, partial nudity, language and brief violence.

Cast: Robert Ri’chard, DeRay Davis, Vivica A. Fox, Carmen Electra. Michael Jai White
Credits: Written and directed by Jean-Claude La Marre. A Freestyle/Paramount release.

Running time: 1:31

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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5 Responses to Movie Review: Skin and sin and church tumble together in “Chocolate City”

  1. Coralene Ramsey says:

    Caucasians, been taking songs from African Americans for years and because they come out with somewhat of the same movie as Magic Mike it’s a issue. Yet it’s ok for Caucasians to make the same movies after movie. … Smdh. … There is plenty of money to be made don’t be alarmed if Chocolate City produces more capital. … Magic Mike 2 will be out soon don’t worry be happy now. … LMMFAO. …

    • Make it about race if you want to. Then see the movie. Because it’s about tone. And “funny.” The first is off, the second is absent.

    • Maria says:

      His opinion is invalid after he says Magic Mike had a sharper script. That movie was dry. The acting was terrible besides Channing and Matthew. The main character that Channing took under his wing was not believable as a stripper. The sister, ugh no need to comment. So where’s the humor in this movie? It’s funny that they think Magic Mike was good. That’s the only thing funny.

      • You appear to be a fan of stripper films on a whole different level from the rest of us. McConaughey? Funny. Women going over the top at the club? Funnier. One laugh in “Chocolate City,” the “Girl, get that child support” bit. Another, the preacher. Played by the director. That was it. Derivative, played, humorless, dull.

  2. C.Grier says:

    Who cares about humor when you have a bunch of sexy men on screen. I highly doubt anyone going to see this move is looking for deep meaning and purpose. The same is to be said about Magic Mike. I loved watching Channing Tatum. No where in my thought process was I looking for humor and the answers to life in that movie…. It simply isn’t happening in Chocolate City and probably will not in the sequel of Magic Mike. I paln to see both with the only expectation of seeing pure sexiness whether black or white, or any other race.

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