Picks and Pans Review: Disappearing Acts
Show of the week
If there were some sort of Eastern religious philosophy of stardom, Wesley Snipes would be its guru. He represents a perfectly harmonious balance between Hollywood charisma and solid but subtle acting talent. The typical Snipes performance is virile and smooth without turning to slickness. His physical presence cannot be ignored, but it's the quiet, thoughtful details of the performance that hold our attention.
Snipes is both executive producer and star of this adaptation of a 1989 novel by Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale). A music teacher (Sanaa Lathan) moves into a Brooklyn brownstone apartment. Snipes, an odd-job construction worker who has just refinished the apartment's floors, helps her move in. They fall in love. He moves in. But she's preoccupied with trying to break into a singing career, and it bothers her that Snipes is less than gainfully employed (with two boys from a not-yet-terminated marriage to boot).
The subsequent romantic oscillations are fairly predictable. But Snipes, increasingly feeling the sting of being a male dependent, creates dramatic surprises in the smallest moments. Alone in a drunken rage, he takes a hammer to the walls of the apartment. He pauses at the piano where his lover writes her songs. Will he smash the hammer down on the keys? In that second an emotional chasm opens up, and a soul teeters between love and ruin.
Bottom Line: True Wes