Sherring’s Goodwatch: Morris Chestnut

My calendar has been marked with the release date of When the Bough Breaks for months. After watching a version of the trailer on Facebook for the first time, September 9, 2016, could not come quickly enough.

From the creepy, slowed down remake of Brandy and Monica’s 1998 hit song The Boys is Mine to a clip of Regina Hall screaming after peering into a crib to Jaz Sinclair’s meltdown in the driver’s seat of a car I could tell the movie would live up to being a good drama/thriller film. The ultimate selling point for me was Morris Chestnut’s starring role.

I have loved Morris (‘cause you know, we go way back) since Boyz N in the Hood. The man has somehow gotten finer and finer and more fine and more fine with time.

Everything about the man is beautiful: straight white teeth, strong cheekbones, smooth bald head, manicured facial hair, dark brown even skin tone. Oh yeah, he’s a good actor too.

I support any of his projects that I learn about. I DVR’d the short-lived reboot of the television series V; binge-watched the first five seasons of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie before the the sixth season aired because he joined the cast; and I’m eagerly awaiting the return of the new season of Rosewood on Fox.

He was definitely one of the It black male actors of the 90s and early 2000s. The Best Man, Two Can Play That Game, The Brothers, The Perfect Holiday to name a few.

I feel like Morris has been around forever, but has yet to receive his just dues. To my recollection, he’s never been on the cover of Essence, one of my favorite magazines. Puff Daddy, Maxwell and Omari Hardwick have, but not my beloved Morris! To be fair, Essence.com does show him plenty of love with articles about his long-lasting marriage, and my favorites, photo galleries and slideshows.

Of course I went to see When The Bough Breaks opening day. Full disclosure: the trailer reminded me of 2015’s The Perfect Guy, also starring my guy Morris, Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy. This time instead of a male psycho (Ealy) falling in love with the female lead (Lathan), a female pyscho (Jaz Sinclair) falls for the male lead (Chestnut).

Morris Chestnut, a lawyer, and Regina Hall, a chef, play a married, childless couple who choose Jaz Sinclair to be their surrogate to carry their last embryo after several miscarriages. At first Sinclair seems sincere in her benevolence, but things take a turn when she becomes obsessed Chestnut’s character.

Pros: The first being that Morris Chestnut stars in the film, and is on screen for nearly every scene. Another is that it’s always great to see strong, positive, black love on the small and large screens, in this case between Chestnut and Hall. Cons: the viewer knows the formula of all thrillers: every thing is sunny and rosy until it isn’t with a predictable ending. There are the obligatory thriller scenes: creeping through bushes, watching through a window at night, standing in the rain, pulling a knife from the kitchen countertop, the murder of an innocent victim who had nothing to do with anything. Let’s not forget the line: “I thought you loved me!”

There’s a serious diversity issue in Hollywood, and I’m more than happy to support to black actors in lead roles that aren’t maids, butlers, slaves and criminals. There’s nothing wrong with those roles, but black actors are just as capable of being cast in rom-coms, thrillers, family movies, comedies, dramas and all other types of movies. I was beyond ecstatic to see Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie and Chadwick Boseman, three black male actors—THREE!—play comic book heroes in the blockbuster Captain America: Civil War. I’m not the only one who noticed and was proud, but I digress back to my favorite black male actor and his latest project.

Even though you know the ending, just like with biopics, the fun and entertainment of this movie is watching how the plot unfolds and how well the actors play their characters. I enjoyed watching the movie, especially because—you guessed it—seeing Morris Chestnut on the big screen, whether it was in one of his many tailored suits or a fitted knit shirt. Regina Hall and Jaz Sinclair do great jobs in playing the protective wife/mama bear and jaded wannabe lover, respectively.

When I think of spring and summer, I think of action and superhero films, and when I think of fall, I think of dramas and thrillers. Although the 90-degree weather still lingers, fall is on its way in and When the Bough Breaks is a great movie to help usher it in.


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