How Stella Got Her Groove Back


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

How Stella Got Her Groove Back
"Every opportunity is missed in favour of sentiment and gloss."

Every opportunity is missed in favour of sentiment and gloss. When a 40-year-old career babe takes a week out with her best girlfriend in Jamaica, there is no pretence as to what they're up to. The idea is to latch on to a hunky piece of native ass, play hard for six days and come back to San Francisco feeling one whole wanted woman. Sex is the cure, it seems, for all that city tension and tight office vibe.

This could have been a comedy of feminine blackness, like Terry McMillan's other novel-into-movie, Waiting To Exhale, but chooses to be a little more serious, because Stella's beau on the beautiful beach is a 20-year-old student dropout, called (of all things) Winston Shakespeare. She goes hook line and he goes sinker. She says, I'm too old for you. He says, I don't care. It's understandable. She looks terrif. Made in heaven? Hardly. He likes junk food and The Lion King. She has a mortgage, a son and a fragile future in the broking business.

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The film doesn't begin to address the issues, except on such a superficial level, it's wasted. Taye Diggs has to appear devoted and interesting. Not easy. Winston comes across as dull and slow, perfectly nice and possibly a stud-u-like, but no match in the personality stakes. Angela Bassett is given the full slo-mo treatment. She's all the things you want a 40-year-old woman to be - smart, sexy and toned for high performance. Whoopie Goldberg as her friend is closer to the real thing. She talks dirty and has cancer.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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How Stella Got Her Groove Back packshot
Career babe is forced to reconsider her life while on holiday in Jamaica.
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Director: Steven Zaillian

Writer: Terry McMillan, Ron Bass

Starring: Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopi Goldberg, Regina King, Suzzanne Douglass, Michael J Pagan, Sicily, Richard Lawson, Barry Shabaka Henley, Lee Weaver, Glynn Turman

Year: 1998

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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