Movie Review - My Favorite Five

Rochelle Aytes stars as Hailey Colburn, an executive at a high-powered accounting and financial firm in Los Angeles. She's a strong, independent and tough, black woman. She's very beautiful and she likes sex. She also uses sex to get ahead in business. She's able to steal clients and get them to do what she wants by throwing her sexiness in their faces. This bothers her male co-workers, as well as her father Robert, played by Steven Williams (21 Jump Street and The X-Files). Robert is bothered in particular not only because Hailey is his daughter but also because he owns the firm where she works.

Brian J. White co-stars as Christopher Michaels, the owner of a video game company that is on the verge of launching a new title but is also in a lot of debt. Robert tells Hailey about Christopher's financial issues and wants her to make him a client. There is some contrivance that she needs to get him to pay back his debt. Her tactic to go about it makes no sense. She decides to seduce him and become his girlfriend, which seems like a total non-sequitur to solve the business issue.

One day, on a lunch with her younger brother Jonathan, played by Jay Ellis, Hailey learns about her brother's audiobook titled "My Favorite Five." It's a book about how to date at least five people all at once because of his theory that you will never find all the qualities you want in one person, so you need multiple people. It's also part of his theory that monogamy and marriage are archaic and possibly unnatural. Hailey listens to the audiobook and then adopts its philosophy.

Writer-director Paul D. Hannah uses this idea more or less as a gimmick in this movie. He gives it lip-service, but he doesn't really delve very deep into the underlying issue, which is polyandry or the notion of a woman having many sex partners at once. "My Favorite Five" is just a cheap gimmick after which the movie devolves into a standard, romantic comedy between Haily and Christopher.

In terms of a romantic comedy, the romantic portion is fine. We get pretty exciting and sweet picnics on the beach. The comedy portion is also fine. All of Hailey's sexual partners are nothing but stereotypes, one-dimensional characters who are the butt of jokes, but it's somewhat entertaining. On one hand, it's funny. On the other hand, it's somewhat sad because most of the actors playing Haily's sexual partners only get one scene and no real time to be fleshed out or developed into real people.

However, the scene-stealer and the majority of the laughs go to Christopher's best friend and business partner Sans, played by DeRay Davis. Davis is hilarious. He saves the movie in its center half. Davis may not have White's runway model, good looks or White's gorgeously sculpted, athletic body, but Davis exudes a vastly greater amount of charm, which he can turn on in an instant.

Speaking of Brian J. White though, this is his third feature as producer. Like with many actors, especially African-American actors, he realizes the best way to get leading roles for himself is to produce it himself. One of his previous features is currently titled And Then There Was You, which is also currently streaming on Netflix. It was like Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman meets David E. Talbert's What My Husband Doesn't Know, minus the Madea character. That film also has a controversial, sexual situation that is given short shrift, just lip-service that is not dealt with any depth.

The idea of "My Favorite Five" is a good one and the idea of a sexually liberated woman is a good one, but Hannah does nothing solid with it. It's just fluff on top of what is another rom-com. Hailey and other characters spout generalizations about men and women, which feel antiquated and stereotypical without any thought or consideration or nuance to the changing landscape or the existence of LGBT people out in the open who have done a lot to destroy those generalizations.

The problem is that when Hailey talks about the multiple men she dates, it becomes like Divergent. She distills men down to one attribute, or else she stereotypes them. She's supposedly so smart, but she comes off as narrow-minded and judgmental. With most of the guys, she gets one major thing from them, which normally leads to sex, except for one guy. T.I., played by Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side), is the one guy with whom she doesn't sleep, but he's so dumb that he doesn't realize he's being used by her. It's patently offensive and makes her seem so manipulative and cruel.

If she's a woman who wants to date multiple people and have multiple sex partners, then let her be that. Let that be the crux of the movie. Don't let it be a bait-and-switch. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with her dating multiple people. Her reason might be due to her being a child of divorce, which is something that is also only given short shrift, lip-service and no real depth.

With all the good looking men in this movie, it's thankful that we get a lot of sexy shirtless shots from Brian White, Elimu Nelson and Greg Duke. Yet, more would have been appreciated like from Marcus Patrick, Leonard Roberts and Eme Ikwuakor. Otherwise, it's an okay romp.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 31 mins.

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