Picks and Pans Review: She's Gotta Have It

updated 10/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/20/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Black sexuality onscreen, or the lack of it, inspired Spike Lee, 29, a graduate of New York University's film school, to write, direct, produce and co-star in this exuberantly erotic romance. Lee shot the film with an unknown all-black cast over 12 days in Brooklyn. He did not let a shoestring budget of $175,000 force him to skimp on imagination. Here's a movie (luminously photographed in black and white by Ernest Dickerson) that crackles with energy and racy wit, pun intended. Tracy Camila Johns stars as a graphic designer juggling three lovers. Straight arrow Tommy Redmond Hicks wants marriage. Macho model John Canada Terrell wants a hot-looking mirror image. Lee himself (in a blissfully funny performance) plays No. 3, a skinny bike messenger who wants only to keep this goddess interested. So much cinematic invention has been lavished on this film it sometimes spins out of control, but Lee's joy in making movies informs every frame. It's doubtful that '86 will see a director make a more exciting feature debut. (R)

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