During my conversation with Ted Witcher last week, he mentioned that a producer was interested in doing a remake of Love Jones, and he actually was in the process of negotiating the terms. He didn’t tell me exactly who, though, but a bit of investigative journalism on my part learned that it was actually Tyler Perry. Yup, you read that correctly: Tyler Perry is doing a remake of Love Jones.
A bit more investigating allowed me to get my hands on a draft of the screenplay. To Perry’s credit, he did attempt to stay true to the original version. The plot largely remains the same, and, although R-rated movies aren’t really Perry’s thing, the movie contains just as much adult dialogue and content as the original. But, as you probably imagined, the remake definitely has his fingerprints on it, and Perry struggles with the nuances present in the original movie’s sexual content.
Due to copyright laws, I can only post one scene, but it should give you a pretty good indication of the entire product.
Setting: “The Mortuary” — a popular hair salon/male strip club in Atlanta, Georgia.
As Walter Hawkins’ version of “Goin’ Up Yonder” plays in the backdrop, the camera pans over the highly engaged and eclectic crowd. Peach Snapple, an blaxican male stripper who vaguely resembles a much happier Scottie Pippen, dances on stage while the women sitting in the salon chairs — many of whom still have curlers in their hair — sway to the rhythmic claps of Peach Snapple’s muscular man booty.
The camera then settles on a table of four men — superstar stripper/aspiring choreographer “Rank “The Wrangler” Whittaker” (played by Chris Brown in a dreadlocks wig), astronaut “J.R. Chapman” (Micheal Jai White), professional baseball player “Vaseline Williams” (Baltimore Raven’s linebacker Ray Lewis, in his first major motion picture role), and strip club DJ and MC “Plier Terry” (Tyler Perry) — and 0ne woman — Mortuary owner “Julie Watson” (Raven Simone, in a role that’s sure to get Oscar buzz).
As the friends sip lattes, smoke weed, and have a conversation that no person on Earth has ever had, Rank gets up and walks to the bar, seemingly deep in thought. Megachurch choir director/aspiring orchestra conductor “Iesha Canty” (Rihanna. Yes, that Rihanna.) is already at the bar, and notices the pensive Rank.
“What’s on your mind?”
“Just…thinking about some ass.”
“That must have been some very special ass.”
“Yeah. It was.”
While this is going on, the camera pans back to the table, and we watch them watching Rank and Iesha.
“I know she aint gonna fall for that sh*tty stripper game” says Vaseline, who’s obviously the “player” in the crew.
Piler, who we sense is the ultra-masculine voice of reason in this circle, replies “Whatever, man. You need to forget about that stuff with your uncle and get back to church. It’s time that you forgave that man for what he did to you. 17 years of not seeing any women will do that to any brother. Anyway, excuse me while I help my boy do his thing”
Piler gets up, and walks to the stage.
“Ladies, gentleman, and ladies with gentleman parts, you’re in for a treat. Welcome to the stage, my boy, Atlanta’s own, The Wrangler!!!”
As Rank swaggers on stage — dressed exactly how you’d imagine a male stripper named “Wrangler” to be dressed — the camera pans on Iesha, whose surprised expression lets the audience know that she definitely didn’t know that Rank was the featured stripper. Sitting next to Iesha is her homegirl, Vicky Ortiz (Loretta Devine, in a very peculiar casting choice).
Before Rank starts dancing, he grabs the microphone and says “This next song and dance is dedicated to a very, very special lady.”
Rank puts the microphone down, goes to the middle of the stage, and puts his head down as the lights dim and the anticipation builds. The music starts, and Rank shifts into full “Wrangler” mode; popping and doing other things that male strippers probably do in strip clubs and maximum security prison cafeterias.
The camera pans on Iesha, as she recognizes this song as familiar, but can’t quite place the name of it. Then, it hits her.
It’s “Iesha” by Another Bad Creation — proof that Rank has dedicated this dance to her.
This realization hits Iesha like a bag of bricks. Equal parts flattered, embarrassed, and aroused, Iesha watches mouth agape as Rank repeatedly thrusts his manhood in her direction, producing shrieks and screams from both the crowd and the hair-dressers.
Later that evening, while Rank and his friends are hanging out outside of the club, Iesha and Vicky approach them.
“That was some stunt you pulled.” Iesha flirts to Rank.
“Seemed to get your attention” Rank replies.
“You seem to know a lot about sex and arousing me with your manparts. There’s more to life than that.” Iesha says, as she draws closer to Rank.
“What’s that?” an obviously horny Rank retorts.
Iesha pulls out a pen, and writes her response on Rank’s still sweaty chest.
When finished, she tells the crew good night, and as her and Vicky walk away, the camera pans onto Rank’s chest so we can see what Iesha just wrote.