Reginald Hudlin’s Boomerang, featuring a star-studded cast, celebrates its 30th anniversary by arriving on Blu-ray for the first time.
Paramount has been releasing a number of Eddie Murphy films over the past few years onto Blu-ray or 4K UHD. A few came by way through Paramount Presents line but this isn’t one of them. Some of the more popular films ended up getting 4K releases after the recent Blu-rays so we’ll just have to see what happens. Outside of director’s commentary and extended/deleted scenes, this release doesn’t offer much in terms of extras. For a 30th anniversary, one would think that there would at least be interviews with the cast. Oh, well.
Boomerang is considered an underrated classic today. It brought in $131 million at the box office against a $42 million production budget. Thirty years ago, the film was the most expensive film with an all-Black cast and crew. One thing to consider is that this film was released during an era where diversity in film criticism wasn’t important. Would increased diversity have made a difference? Maybe. In the time since the film’s released, it has developed a cult following.
This is one of those films that you have to watch through the original lens. Advertising exec Marcus Graham (Eddie Murphy) is a womanizer and male chauvinist. Marcus is afraid of committing and also judges women…by their feet. Both Tyler (Martin Lawrence) and Gerard (David Alan Grier) are critical of his views on this. He certainly meets his match in Jacqueline Broyer (Robin Givens) after Lady Eloise (Eartha Kitt) acquires the company. Marcus sleeps with her because he thinks it’ll be good for his own employment. Nope! Jacqueline is his new boss and Marcus is quick to realize that she is treating him how he treats others. When Jacqueline introduces Marcus to Angela Lewis (Halle Berry) at a party, Marcus sets her up with Gerard. However, a romantic relationship just isn’t in their cards.
Marcus does everything he can in an attempt to court his new boss but all of his efforts fail. She’s more interested in the Chicago Bulls game on TV than she is in him. It isn’t until a later trip to New Orleans in which the two end up sleeping together. But before he knows it, Jacqueline is doing the same thing to him that he’s been doing to other women. Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it? Meanwhile, the film not only spoofs Star Trek but even features scenes from a Star Trek episode, “Elaan of Troyius.” If this wasn’t enough, Marcus soon finds himself in a relationship with Angela, only to hurt her feelings while on the phone with Jacqueline. He has to make a decision for himself, let alone make up with his friends. He needs to choose between Jacqueline and Angela.
In many ways, this is a very sexist film but it’s also one of those films where characters must learn to grow. Basically, think of Murphy as playing a Cary Grant-esque character in the 1990s. Funny enough, His Girl Friday serves as an influence on Boomerang! It’s a very different role from what we’ve seen of Murphy to this point. He’s playing a hip businessman, which at the time you didn’t really find Black actors playing in the movies. They could either be one or the other. You won’t find him playing the persona that you saw in Coming to America, Trading Places, or Beverly Hills Cop. Say what you will about the whole feet idea but it’s a way of showing us that the character is growing. By the time he gets around to Angela, he doesn’t even bother with checking out her feet.
I’m not going to judge the gags through a 2022 lens. It’s only after pursing Jacqueline that Marcus realizes that she’s doing to him what he’s done to women for so many years. The way I see it, this is a moment for character growth. Either you like it or you don’t. It’s certainly too long for a romantic comedy and could probably use a good trimming to 90-105 minutes. Thirty years later, this film is rather deserving of a reevaluation. Boomerang ought to be in the conversation when discussing classic romantic comedies because this film is underrated.
- Commentary by Director Reginald Hudlin
- Extended and Deleted Scenes with Director’s Commentary
DIRECTOR: Reginald Hudlin
SCREENWRITERS: Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield
CAST: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry, David Alan Grier, Martin Lawrence, Grace Jones, Geoffrey Holder, and Eartha Kitt, Chris Rock, John Witherspoon, Tisha Campbell, Melvin Van Peebles
Paramount released Boomerang in theaters on July 1, 2002. Grade: 3.5/5
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