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    Chocolate City (2015): Movie Review

    "Sexy but neither funny nor  magical."

    “Y’all seen Magic Mike, right?” asks Michael Jai White in the opening sequence of Chocolate City. “Now, we gonna add a little chocolate.” And with that, we just know what the movie will be all about – a black version of titanic hit Magic Mike. If we come to think of it, there was no black stripper in Mike’s Tampa gang, and voila, filmmaker Jean-Claude La Marre just made a movie out of it. Is this version really necessarily to sort of compensate Magic Mike’s insufficient cultural diversity? Or are the creators just cashing on a popular household name? 

    Chocolate City somewhat follows similar plot. We have here Michael McCoy (Robert Ri’chard), a black college student who flips burger in a diner to help out the family financially. He’s living with his widowed and deeply religious mother Katherine (Vivica A. Fox) who works two jobs in order to make both ends meet. With them is Princeton’s 30-year-old brother Chris (DeRay Davis) who is only good in partying. By fate, Michael meets club manager Princeton (White) in the men’s room and the latter offers him an unknown job. When Michael and his brother show up in Princeton’s club for some interview, they instead become spectators to an all-male strippers’ show. With Chris posing as his manager, Michael soon finds himself on stage, shaking his guns and sacking insurmountable cash. He then leads a double life – a good son and boyfriend at day, and a sensational stripper at night. 

    Chocolate City is not half as good as Magic Mike. For one, the title is dull and uninviting. It sounds like the title of some sort of reality cooking show or some children’s animated movie. As to the story, both movies follow the same blueprint but Magic Mike has more solid script, more lovable characters and more and deeper dramas. Chocolate City does not dignify strippers’ job as it gives so much emphasis on money. It is ridiculous to watch various women randomly throwing bills everywhere. They throw them on the stage, on the tables next to them, and on themselves. They fan themselves with them. After each performance, the strippers just go away with bags of money. It is just damned unrealistic and unbelievable.

    There are also elements in the movie which do not make sense, giving you a feeling of something is not right. Take for example Michael’s stage name which is “Sexy Chocolate,” coined by his dear lazy brother turned wise manager. What the hell is that name? It sounds like some random pathetic twink in a porn video chat room. Robert Ri’chard as Michael is undeniably ripped and his dance moves are smooth and graceful. However, he seems not charismatic enough to turn heads around. There is also poor chemistry between him and his leading lady. And when his girlfriend and his mother finally know about his true job, the tension is very sloppy and they just kissed and made up the same night they discovered his secret.

    The only “good” thing about the movie is that their gimmicks and dance routines are a lot wilder than those in Magic Mike. The strippers are natural dancers and they stunned in their various customs. They dance better than Mike’s Tampa team (though the latter have more sex appeal). They even include the female audience in their performances – banging them on stage, grinding them, and burying their faces on their crotch. In fact, their numbers took a great amount of time in the film. Model Tyson Beckford adds conflict to the show by playing the bitter Adrian whose status as the lead stripper is stolen by Michael. 

    In the end, it seems that the ultimate objective of Chocolate City is to generate cash by selling sex. For many ladies and ladies at heart, the film will be pleasing to the eyes, especially that Beckford is up to show off and shake his dark shimmering ass. It lacks substance, it lacks humor, it lacks intelligent script. It simply rides on the popularity of Magic Mike. And it simply has no magic.



    1. I have just installed iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.



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