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Boomerang Review

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Irresistible ad-man Marcus Graham (Murphy) defines the word 'player'. His whole life is one long booty call. That is until he meets his match in Jacqueline (Givens), a woman who can's stay in one bed too long either.

★★★★★

The 90s were not kind to Eddie Murphy. Or maybe, after Harlem Nights and Another 48 Hours, it's Murphy who wasn't kind to the 90s. Either way, at the time of this 1992 release he needed a hit more than a junkie on death row, and Boomerang - a story dreamt up by Murphy himself - kinda delivered.

It's the tale of Marcus Graham (Murphy), successful advertising executive by day, obnoxious (but equally successful) womaniser by night, and how such a hobby leads to his humbling. It all starts to go wrong when he comes across Jaqueline (Givens). Not only is she his new boss, but - unlike every woman that lays eyes on him - she doesn't fall for his shtick, so after he's lowered himself to put in a bit of effort to get his wicked way, the unthinkable happens and he falls in love, the twist being that she's got exactly the same just-anoth-er-notch-on-the-bedpost attitude he has.

In many ways, this is cornily predictable stuff, but it raises itself on a number of counts, with Murphy's transformation from a self-assured cocksman to bewildered, lovesick drip being approached with greater gusto than might be expected, and worth the ticket price alone is his forlorn expression as he sits up in bed chewing the sheet, watching her leave after she drops in for a quickie on her way back from a meeting.

Then there's the input from Warrington and Reginald Hudlin, producer and director respectively, who succeed in creating a comedy which, unusually for a Murphy film, also exists around him, injecting running jokes, background gags and satisfyingly pointless extraneous characters, while even allowing side-men (particularly Michael Lawrence - the artists currently known as Chris Rock) to establish themselves. It's also the first time Murphy has worked with black people in these capacities, which may account for the movie's ability to convince. As they're unlikely to be as intimidated by Murphy's "street smart" persona, you get the feeling he gave his all, particularly since the Hudlins apparently insisted he actually rehearse with the rest of cast. With any luck, he'll have learned something from the experience.

Way too slick to be ineffective, and with some genuinely side-splitting moments, it's just a shame that Murphy's gargantuan egotism is so writ large.