The title stands for "black American princesses," but there's nothing royal about this insulting comedy. Nisi (Halle Berry) and Mickey (Natalie Desselle) are black waitresses at a Georgia diner who dream about opening up a combination hair salon/soul food restaurant. Nisi believes she can finance their fantasy by winning an audition for "Video Dance Girl of the World" and its $10,000 prize, so the girls leave their underachieving boyfriends behind and fly to Los Angeles. Unfortunately Nisi can't dance, but a Beverly Hills chauffeur says his boss is also making a video and is willing to pay $10,000. When they arrive at a posh mansion, however, Nisi and Mickey are given a different assignment. Wealthy Mr. Blackmore (Martin Landau) is about to die, so his nephew wants Nisi to help make his uncle's last days more enjoyable. Blackmore has fond memories of his long-lost love Lily, a black housekeeper from his family's estate. So Nisi is asked to pose as Lily's granddaughter and reminisce about her grandmother with Blackmore. The girls agree to the deal, and their outrageous style also helps perk up Blackmore's spirits. But they soon discover they are caught up in a scheme to gain control of the old man's estate. With their outrageous hairstyles, gold-capped teeth and gaudy clothing, Nisi and Mickey are degrading stereotypes and rarely funny. Landau is out of place as the kindly billionaire. The suspicious butler Manley (Ian Richardson), who learns to loosen up with the girls' help, is the only one who provides a small dash of humor. B.A.P.S. does end on a happy note, but there's not much enjoyment found along the way.
This film is relatively tame, especially compared to many recent comedies that have been targeted to black audiences. Nisi and Mickey favor tight and somewhat revealing clothing, and Nisi sports a skimpy bikini in a pool scene. Mickey gets romantic with the chauffeur, who kisses her feet and speaks to her in a charming fashion, but there are no sex scenes. The girls begin to feel guilty about deceiving Blackmore and decide to confess. The only area where B.A.P.S. gets truly offensive is in the language department. The comedy isn't very funny to begin with, and 18 mild and moderate crude words and eight obscenities make it even easier to skip this effort.
New Line Cinema, 575 8th Ave., 16th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Many (18) times Mild 9, Moderate 9
Several (8) times (s-word 6, f-word 2)
Few times Moderate (punches to face)
None; near nudity several times (low-cut outfits, woman in bikini)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog:
Few times (man kisses woman's feet, suggestive dancing)
Few times (drinks served at bar)
Young black adults
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