A Thin Line Between Good and Bad

Martin Lawrence has built a career on being a coarse, smooth talking, scheming fool. He's certainly got his audience figured out, and knows how to play this character inside and out, which is fine and good for him. For those of us not in his audience, mostly what he offers is an opportunity to be annoyed, or perhaps merely put off.

In A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Lawrence has co-written and directed a vehicle to show off his talents in their best light, in the ways he has learned to do. Now, could someone else have done something to bring out more interesting sides to Lawrence on screen? That's an interesting question, perhaps the most interesting brought out by this movie.

You can call me a playa hater if you like. The main thrust of the movie deals with Lawrence's womanizing, and that doesn't create sympathetic character to me. Now, there's no rule that says you have to have a sympathetic protagonist, but it creates a harder road for the script. It's hard to tell if there's a recognition of this need (I doubt it), but there is a certain depth the script is aiming for, which it doesn't quite succeed in pulling off. They actually flinch at just the last moment instead of following through, turning the movie into some kind of Fatal Attraction clone.

What is this movie trying to be? The setup is a lot like a character study, but Lawrence's approach doesn't show us much dimension to his character. If we simply dismiss that thought, we are left with a shallow comedy with some significant dramatic elements.

If only Martin Lawrence could learn to hum and chew gum and the same time, then maybe this would have been a good movie. There's enough potential here for something good if you just jettison the fatal attraction thing.

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