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Parents' Guide to

Brown Sugar

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Hip-hop inspired romcom has language, sexual references.

Movie PG-13 2002 109 minutes
Brown Sugar movie poster

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
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It's pretty formulaic stuff, but the performances from both leads and the supporting characters -- particularly Queen Latifah and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) -- elevate this romcom above the usual fare. Brown Sugar follows a familiar trajectory but sidesteps a lot of the stereotypes you might expect. For example, Nicole Ari Parker's "other woman" is not the unlikable caricature she might have been painted elsewhere. Here she's given depth and complexity, and there's truth and poignancy to conversations that may have induced eye rolls in other hands.

The interweaving of hip-hop elements also sets it apart, though is mixed in its success. The opening montage of artists sets the scene for the characters' passion, and at one point Sidney compares losing her friend to a new wife to losing hip-hop to the mainstream. But other weaving in of the subject can feel clunky. However, it remains a strong link between the two characters and a connection that feels raw and real in a warm and enjoyable movie that celebrates pursuing your dreams, as much as romantic love.

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