[box cover]

Boomerang

When Eddie Murphy has the right material — even if he's just a voice (Mulan, Shrek) — he's a comic force to be reckoned with; when he's at his best, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone funnier, smoother, or more charismatic. He's all three in Boomerang (1992), a slick, entertaining romantic comedy about what happens when a player meets his match. As Marcus Graham, Murphy has it all: A cushy executive job at a cosmetics company, a gorgeous apartment, great clothes, loyal friends, and an unparalleled ability to seduce women. He doesn't love any of them, naturally, but he's having a fabulous time. Then he meets Jacqueline (Robin Givens), the aloof beauty who becomes his boss when another company merges with his; try as he might, Marcus can't win her over, and suddenly he's feeling desperate and insecure. Things only get worse after they do finally get together and the spurner becomes the spurnee — now that Marcus knows what it's like to be messed with, will he appreciate real love when it comes his way? (Hmm, ya think?) The plot may be slightly formulaic, but thanks to a stellar cast and a sharp script, Boomerang is never boring. Murphy, who could easily have made Marcus into a caricatured stereotype, instead gives his character real humanity — even the smallest touches, like the fact that Marcus isn't into basketball but does love Star Trek, make him more real. Murphy also benefits from a ridiculously talented roster of supporting players (most of whom were still relatively unknown when they appeared in the film): David Alan Grier and Martin Lawrence get big laughs as Marcus's two best friends, Halle Berry is sweetly charming as Jacqueline's under-appreciated friend/employee, and Chris Rock steals all of his scenes as an outspoken mailroom guy. The only weak link is Givens; she makes Jaqueline so hard and controlling that it's often hard to understand what Marcus sees in her (besides the obvious, of course). Her big hair and early '90s fashions also do the most to make the movie seem a bit dated, but overall it's held up quite well — the punchlines are still funny, the acting is still strong, and the ending is still sigh-worthy. The movie still looks and sounds good, too; the anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) on Paramount's DVD shows a little grain in spots but is generally quite crisp, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is clear (other options include an English Dolby 2.0 Surround track, French Stereo, and English subtitles). The disc also boasts two nice extras: a set of five extended and deleted scenes (with optional commentary) and a full-length audio track by director Reginald Hudlin. Despite the fact that his voice makes him sound like one of Murphy's stuffy-nerd characters, Hudlin's commentary is enthusiastic and guileless. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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