6.5/10
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Brown Sugar (2002)

PG-13 | | Romance, Comedy, Drama | 11 October 2002 (USA)
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Friends since childhood, a magazine editor and a hip-hop record executive stumble into romantic territory.

Director:

Rick Famuyiwa

Writers:

Michael Elliot (story), Michael Elliot (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Taye Diggs ... Andre Romulus 'Dre' Ellis
Sanaa Lathan ... Sidney 'Syd' Shaw
Yasiin Bey ... Chris 'Cav' Anton Vichon (as Mos Def)
Nicole Ari Parker ... Reese Marie Wiggam Ellis
Boris Kodjoe ... Kelby Dawson
Queen Latifah ... Francine
Wendell Pierce ... Simon
Erik Weiner ... Ren
Reg Wyns Reg Wyns ... Ten (as Reggi Wyns)
Melissa Martinez Melissa Martinez ... Meghan
Aaliyyah Hill Aaliyyah Hill ... Young Sidney
Marc John Jefferies ... Young Dre
Venida Evans ... Older Woman
Breece Wilson Breece Wilson ... Woman
Brette Taylor ... Woman 2
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Storyline

This romantic comedy centers on a romance between an A&R exec, Dre, at a hip-hop label and a magazine editor, Sidney, who have known each other since childhood.. They find themselves drifting towards being more than friends, even as Dre is engaged, and Sidney starts being wooed by a handsome basketball player. Written by PhatBleek

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The rhythm, the love, the beat...and you don't stop. See more »

Genres:

Romance | Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Used to Love Her See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,738,882, 13 October 2002

Gross USA:

$27,363,891

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,316,451
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Idris Elba auditioned for the part of Kelby Dawson. See more »

Goofs

At the party, after Kelby proposes to Sidney, Dre and Sidney have a conversation, during which the two gold records on the wall behind them disappear and reappear between shots. See more »

Quotes

Dre: It's when you talk like that, that's what makes me think that you're jealous.
Sidney 'Syd' Shaw: What?
Dre: Yes. Jealous!
Sidney 'Syd' Shaw: [throws a cookie on the table] No wonder you two are married, you're both crazy! Look here, contrary to what you and your wife may think, I don't spend my nights thinkin' about you, okay?
Dre: Shh! Lower the voice.
Sidney 'Syd' Shaw: I got a man who's fine, intelligent, successful, and gives it to me on a very, very regular basis and the s**t is the bomb!
Dre: So! I don't care what -
Sidney 'Syd' Shaw: Dre I need you to be happy for me. I need ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Both "De La Soul" and "Method Man" are credited in the opening credits and not in the end credits. Therefore, the IMDb ordering uses the opening credits first and fills in the rest with the end credits. See more »

Connections

References Yo! MTV Raps (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Self Love
Written and Performed by Jaguar Wright
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A hip-hop culture/romantic comedy that avoids the gags of both genres
3 April 2003 | by jransomSee all my reviews

Brown Sugar (2002) could have been retitled Love & Hip-hop if only to simplify matters. Like Love & Basketball, it marries the tried-and-true romantic flick formula to the emergence of mainstream "black" culture. Because of these similarities and the presence of Sanaa Lathan, most viewers will quickly lump Brown Sugar into one of two pools. They will either see it as yet another "black" film about a lifestyle that was once counter-cultural and is now, thanks to MTV, cliched or as one more in a long line of romantic comedies.

This film fits into both categories but is far better than most of its fellow films. The hip-hop culture is a childhood background that has turned into a profitable lifestyle for Dre and Sid, the two main characters. Their careers are products of the American craze for pop culture but their love for hip-hop is strong enough to allow them the hope that they can somehow make a difference in the business. Films with black stars tend either to drown them with imagery of the ghetto (a la Menace II Society, Baby Boy, etc) or completely ignore the African-American element, dress the characters in business suits, and absorb them into the "white" corporate world of success. Brown Sugar does neither. Hip-hop is natural to Dre and Sid and is present in their conversations without being obtrusive. Writer Michael Elliot is wise to let them lead their lives in the corporate world without ever losing their childhood backgrounds.

In the other camp, romantic comedies generally sacrifice character development and plausibility to accomodate the dreaded near-misses, love misunderstandings, and the climatic scene where the man publicly confesses his undying love. For the most part, Brown Sugar steers clear of these pitfalls and remains true to its characters. The movie never pretends that any of its characters are perfect or indeed that any of them are ever sure of any of their emotions. This is not a fairy tale movie where characters have sex because they are in love. This film is more realistic. The characters are young and romantic at heart and for one reason or another, they find sex first. That then leads them to at least the misguided pretense of love. As one character explains it, "put a man and a woman together for long enough and something's bound to happen." Infidelity is shown as a sign of emotional uncertainty not of villainy. Even the best of the characters eventually considers it. But neither Famuyiwa's camera or Elliot's script vilify them for it. The characters earn the viewer's sympathy despite their mistakes and when confronted by their angry spouses, they do try their best to be honest and direct.

The script also avoids the kinds of contrived jealousy traps that most romantic comedies rely on. When one character finally falls for another and acts on his feelings, he is not lead astray by a misunderstanding. He arrives early enough to realize that she has managed to find love elsewhere while he was making up his mind, but too late to do anything about it. Even the public pronouncement of love is cleverly flipped. All in all, this movie should be watched by anyone who has seen one too many weak romantic or African-American comedies and needs to be reminded that a string of bad movies does not ruin a genre.


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