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Kareem Black/BET

Millennials Take Back Their Voice On BET’s 'Boomerang' Series: Premiere Recap

Simone Graham, daughter of Angela and Marcus Graham, and Bryson Boyer look to dominate the advertising world one trending campaign at a time.

What do you get when an Emmy-award winning actor and writer teams up with an Emmy-Award winning actress? A half-hour comedy we never knew we needed. Co-executive produced by Lena Waithe and Halle Berry, Boomerang is more of a spin-off than a reboot of the 1992 film of the same name. In that old cautionary tale of karma, the ever-so-promiscuous and narcissistic ad executive Marcus (Eddie Murphy) meets his match when his new boss Jaqueline (Robin Givens) is just as ruthless in playing those games. He eventually falls in love with Jaqueline’s assistant Angela (Ms. Berry), which brings us to the premise of this scripted-series.

Within the first few seconds of the series’ premiere, we are fake taken back in time to the ‘90s- coincidentally the era where Angela and Marcus — who happen to be the parents of our feisty, plays-no-games lead, Simone Graham (Tetona Jackson) — first met.

Off-rip, Simone is just what every company needs especially in 2019- that voice that points out problematic worldwide campaigns that would later lead to a Black Twitter drag session of one of your favorite ignorant corporate companies. Marcus may not have been as self-centered back in the day as some may recall, but poppa was a shark and it’s no secret that daddy’s dearest has inherited those razor-sharp teeth. When the male lead in their Kid-n-Playesque ‘commercial shoot leaves the dark-skinned model for a lighter one, our melanin queen, Simone, shuts down all of production like Chik-Fil-A on a Sunday, refusing to be “that” company that blatantly ignore social issues. (Oh hey, Gucci!) Simone may be a spirited chick but quickly learns that producer Victoria Johnson (Paula Newsome) is that “loyal bi**h” who has zero issue with humbling her in front of Bryson Boyer (Tequan Richmond).  The two clearly bump heads often and within seconds, Simone finds herself quitting and without a job.

Realizing that, “Damn, shorty effed up,” Bryson tries to convince his childhood friend to charm Victoria to get her job back, but with that touch-to-open whip and her bomb hairstyle, it’s obvious that it’s Simone’s way or the highway.

Like anyone who has had a rough day, indulging in reality TV is a must for young Simone and her poison is BET’s Hustle in Brooklyn. As Dani is arguing with Azia on the tube, Simone’s friend Crystal Garrett (Brittany Inge) walks in not too pleased to see that her bestie started the show without her — oh, and that she quit her job. No need to fret though because Simone has a plan to open an agency of her own. Crystal being the true friend that she is, reminds Simone that starting your own company isn’t possible overnight and that homelessness isn’t a good look. “Gimme a charge,” is the new “roll up,” and even through those kush clouds, Simone still sees her newest goal.

Meanwhile, at the Graham Agency, Bryson is the man in his little suit.  He even has a “this meeting is some BS” text buddy in our girl Crystal. As a room full of white/Asian execs clap at a greenlit ad filled with stereotypes, two of the three black people in the room stay behind to do what all employees in their situation would do under those circumstances — complain about how basic and lost their company is when it comes to understanding the culture. Many relatable questions pop up in this scene, one mainly being: Why are people who are not black millennials running content aimed at black millennials? “Buying momma a house,” is a common goal in the community and as Bryson pitches his version of execution in marketing the product to Crystal, he unknowingly gains some fans in the process. He gets his shot by the bosses to make his vision come into fruition. Victoria isn’t too pleased to have a youngin’ steal her shine but she still dishes out a measly $2K for Bryson to get his concept rolling.  It’s all about our young, gifted, and black brothers and sisters in 2019.

The moment Bryson, Ari, and David are in the gym on row machines, we are automatically hit with tons of nostalgia as that scene directly emulates the setting in which Marcus’ has an important conversation with Gerard (David Allen Grier) and Tyler (Martin Lawrence) in the original film. Back then, the topic was about Gerard's lack of play with the ladies but for young Bryson and friends, it’s about getting to that MONEY! (Cardi B voice).

Cut to the skrip (yes, skrip) club where “bosses” are counting singles; somewhere in the back Simone already has a plan brewing in her mind. All of the answers she’s looking for lie with Tia Read (LaLa Milan), a stripper who Simone wants to make major moves with. Simone explains to Tia that not everyone could be Bardi-rella but they damn sure could try and just like that, she has a new manager. Okurrrr.

A FaceTime call between Bryson and Simone makes it really apparent that Bry Bry has a thing for the kid. Knowing this, Simone uses her charm to convince Bryson to hire Tia for his commercial. You see, in her mind, it would be so dope if Victoria gets fired and Bryson becomes the new Marcus Graham.  And for a mere $1K booking fee, Simone is willing to help (so nice of her). All it takes is a smile and an “I’m proud of you” for Bryson to agree to pay for it. At this point, you have to feel some type of bad for Bryson who has no idea that, Simone’s ex Camden (Joey Bada$$) is still busting her yeeks. It’s not what any of us would think, though. Simone is just using him for the D. After all, if you can’t be used, you’re useless, right? All Pisces get blamed for Simone’s playa-playa ways and for a second, she actually looks sad to hurt poor Joey’s heart. Just for a second, though.

It’s now time for Tia’s close-up and right away it becomes Simone’s shoot- like, just Simone’s. Everyone is aggy. Presentation day arrives and as you “stay awake” for the next few moments to see it, the board is just as unimpressed in the new concept as Bryson seems to be in himself.  Now note, children: This is exactly why you don’t mix work with love. His little “I appreciate the opportunity” speech falls on Victoria’s deaf ears as she already knows why this love-struck puppy tanked. He needs to start focusing.

You’d think he would’ve been more tight at Simone after blowing an opportunity of a lifetime but two bottles of wine are all Bryson needs to forgive her.  (He swears he’s me.) We don’t know if it’s her smile or her Henny-straight complexion but Bryson not only compliments Simone’s eye in scouting the talent that essentially made his commercial fail, but he STILL pays her a grand. Must be nice. The lights are dim, music is low, and he shoots his shot with the leg rub, only to be curved by a question of preference to red or white wine.  That was hard to watch, brother. Hopefully, in the episodes to come, Bryson mans up so he can finally be the Marcus Graham (or Mr. Simone Graham) he aspires to be.

BET’s Boomerang airs Tuesdays at 10/9c!

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‘Bad Boys 4’ Is Reportedly In The Works

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are reportedly returning for another installment of the Bad Boys franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bad Boy’s 4 is already in the works.

Bad Boys for Life script writer Chris Bremner will return for Bad Boy’s 4, the outlet reported on Friday (Jan. 17). No word yet on when the film will be released, but fans can expect a much shorter wait than the 17-year gap between Bad Boy’s 2 and Bad Boys for Life. The film was delayed due to script issues.

“I just didn’t want to wreck the franchise,” Smith told Elliott Wilson during a CRWN interview last month. Lawrence echoed his words in an interview with GQ magazine.

“The script wasn’t right. And Will, to his credit, refused to do the movie until the script was right. It wouldn’t have been a good movie. We dint’ want that. We wanted to do a sequel where people would go, ‘Oh man, that’s what I’m talking about. It just get better.’”

Bad Boy’s for Life opened on Friday and is expected to bring in more than $67 million in its debut weekend.

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Sony Pictures

Review: 'Bad Boys For Life' Proves To Be A Promising Crowd-Pleasing Throwback

“We ride together, we die together” never really made that much sense as a slogan, did it? Regardless, the line that epitomized the appeal of Bad Boys, the uber-violent action buddy cop franchise that turned Martin Lawrence and Will Smith into movie stars back in the mid-90s. Smith and Lawrence– now fiftysomethings– are back for a third go-round with surprising and enjoyable new tricks.

In 2003, the eight years between Bad Boys seemed like an eternity. But there’s been seventeen years between Bad Boys II and Bad Boys For Life—the former hit theaters before an iPhone ever existed, just as the so-called War On Terror was hitting full swing and a wide-eyed Beyonce embarked on a nascent solo career. If the buddy cop genre was on life support in the early 2000s, the formula is almost completely post-mortem in 2020; most buddy cop flicks in more recent times have been subversive spoofs (like 2010s The Other Guys) or unfunny one-offs (like the forgettable CHiPs).

This time around, Mike Lowry (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) face the realities of middle age. Burnett is happy to waltz into retirement and into “Papa” territory, exhausted from chasing kingpins. Lowry, on the other hand, is ever more of an adrenaline junkie than in the past; addicted to the thrill and holding on to a “bulletproof” playboy image that’s getting sadder and sadder—particularly when he’s forced to admit he wrecked a promising relationship with fellow officer Rita (Paola Nunez) and every time he peppers his bravado with Millennial-speak like “Turn up” and “One Hunnid.”

Lowry’s disappointment in Burnett’s desire to leave the force turns into something harsher after a shooting forces Mike to take stock and Marcus distances himself from his old partner. Of course, this is all just a set up for the duo to reconnect in the face of tragedy—along with a gaggle of new recruits led by Rita; including a computer geek who may or may not be a killing machine, a young tough guy who hates Lowry for apparently no reason, and Vanessa Hudgens.

Bad Boys For Life has more heart than the lunkheaded Bad Boys II, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Ballah don’t forego the departed Michael Bay’s formula for punchlines and hyperkinetic violence; there’s an opening knife sequence that’s almost gratuitously graphic, and an action set-piece on a bridge that may be the most ambitious in the series. There’s only a passing mention of Burnett’s sister (played by Gabrielle Union in the previous film) and an obligatory callback to II’s funniest moment involving his daughter, but a lot of the movie’s emotional core sits with Smith’s Mike Lowry. Smith plays his first action star with an almost meta-level of intensity.

He’s the sum of all Will Smith’s Will Smithiness in one character and gets to play with the idea of Lowry’s machismo persona. Together with the recognition that Lawrence isn’t really an action star (the film smartly turns his affinity for sitting and watching as Smith jumps headfirst into heroics into a running gag), it’s a good turn for the characters and helps elevate the second half of the movie after a somewhat rote first half.

As the film’s “big bad,” Telenovela action star Kate del Castillo isn’t given a whole lot to do, nor is Jacob Scipio as Armas, as her son and steely hitman, who is on the hunt for Lowry. Reliably familiar support from Theresa Randle as Burnett’s long-suffering wife and Joe Pantoliano as the perpetually-flustered police captain Conrad Howard reminds everyone that this is a Bad Boys flick, and the actors clearly relish jumping back into their long-standing roles.

But these films always work best when Smith and Lawrence get to quip lines back-and-forth while dodging bullets, and the easy partnership between the two remains intact, even when the film lags under its own clichés or the sentiment borders on silly. There’s a twist that feels especially contrived and so many self-referential moments where Marcus and Mike seem to almost know that they’re in a movie about Marcus and Mike (who say “Bad boys for life” as a wedding toast, really?), but there’s a breeziness to the proceedings that feels more in line with the easy fun of the 1995 original—as opposed to the frenetically hyperactive feel of its sequel.

Anyone who is excited to see Bad Boys For Life wants to go into it for what these movies have always managed to give their fans; just enough comedy sprinkled with just enough to story to justify eye-popping action sequences and RoboCop-levels of bloodshed. The buddy cop genre was always predictable, but the best of it—classics like Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop and, yes, the first Bad Boys film—has always been a fun night at the movies.

In that regard, Bad Boys For Life doesn’t disappoint. It’s coasting on the easygoing partnership of Smith and Lawrence, as it always has. 25 years ago, they were two of the biggest stars on television, making a somewhat unlikely leap to action stardom in a movie initially written for then-Saturday Night Live comedians Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz that was being directed by a guy most people had never heard of. We may be a vastly different audience today than we were in the 1990s or 2000s, but there’s some fun in watching how different Mike and Marcus are too.

Franchises like Rush Hour and Lethal Weapon seem like big blockbuster brands of yesteryear, as a whole generation of moviegoers have grown up with vast comic book spectacles or rapid-chase car flicks overpopulated with musclebound tough guys. As such, Bad Boys For Life stands as a sort of throwback in popcorn entertainment; that reliable action-comedy that coasts on the chemistry and charisma of its leads—more so than otherworldly special effects or universe-building.

The constant mentions of “One last time” statements remind the audience that this could be the final go-round for Mike and Marcus. Big box office returns can reroute retirements, but if this is indeed the grand finale for Bad Boys, there are worse ways to go out. In a world where Lethal Weapon 4 and Rush Hour 3 exist (with talk of another in the Chris Tucker/Jackie Chan series coming down the pike), Bad Boys For Life should be praised for what it does manage to do so well. It’s fun, violent escapism that doesn’t ask too much of anyone. And sometimes that’s really all we need these movies to be.

Bad Boys For Life opens in theaters Friday, January 17.

Director(s): Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Jacob Scipio, Alexander Ludwig, Kate del Castillo, Joe Pantoliano, Charles Melton, Paola Núñez, Nicky Jam, DJ Khaled.

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Tyler Perry's 'A Fall From Grace' Cast Talks The Film's Lessons In Life And Love

Love can truly be an emotional rollercoaster. When it's high, it feels beautifully warm. But when it's low, it can become really cold and dark. The enactment of the latter can be seen in Tyler Perry's upcoming Netflix film, A Fall From Grace.

While feeling disheartened after discovering her ex-husband's affair, new divorcee Grace Waters played by Crystal Fox (The Haves and Have Nots) finds herself alone and lonely. With encouragement from her best friend Sarah Miller (Phylicia Rashad), she goes out to an event where she meets what she thought to be the love of her life which she soon finds to be her biggest nightmare.

Perry plays an obnoxious defense lawyer (Rory) with no intention of doing much defending and instead adamantly insists that his prodigy Jasmine (Bresha Webb) push for a plea deal. But after meeting Waters, Jasmine isn’t so sure about her guilty admission and suspects foul play. When curiosity meets persistence, the film takes you on a journey of unveiling plot twists that will have you on the edge of your seat guessing hard about how the story will end.

VIBE chatted with the actors behind these characters to talk about love and relationships and the importance of being aware.

"Keep your heart open but keep your eyes open, too; Watch out for red flags," said the film's writer, director, and producer. "Keep your heart open. Love yourself before you look for somebody else to love you, and remember that grace is over you and in you," added leading lady Fox.

When asked what they hope viewers walk away with after watching the crime drama film, Webb pointed out: "I feel like as well as being on the edge of your seat and [while] you're watching it and you're being lost in the drama, also leave with a knowledge of knowing what this movie encompasses together."

Legendary actress Rashad concluded, "I think it's always great for me as an artist when an audience can walk away feeling satisfied, yes? But also reflective of what they've experienced and continue to reflect on the experience."

Ultimately, this movie is a must-see and what is said to be Tyler Perry's best work. A Fall From Grace hits streaming platforms Friday, January 17 on Netflix.

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