1997, R, 105 min. Directed by Rusty Cundieff. Starring Rusty Cundieff, Paula Kai Parker, Tisha Campbell, Joe Terry.
REVIEWED By Russell Smith, Fri., May 30, 1997
The title refers to being in love, a state that's pure anathema to any man who aspires to well and truly be “The Mack.” At least that's what self-styled ladies' man Clyde (Terry) keeps telling his longtime homedog, Montel (Cundieff), a bashful type who's showing ominous signs of falling for cute law student Brandy (Campbell). When the pair move in together, Clyde feels an intervention is called for, and he enlists the aid of Brandy's relentlessly mercenary pal Adina (Parker), who considers struggling photographer Montel a total loser. With nasty ruses (such as dispatching a luscious call girl to tempt Montel), Clyde and Adina not only push their pals' Doris Day/Rock Hudson romance to the limits of endurance, but also find a bonding experience of their own in mutual villainy. This initial foray into romantic comedy by Cundieff, whose previous directing credits include 1993's Fear of a Black Hat and 1995's Tales From the Hood, is definitely a change of pace from the raucous macho humor and over-the-top stylings of its predecessors. Predictably, Sprung has a less assured feel as Cundieff strays well beyond his comfort zone. There's a disjointedness to this movie, with lascivious and non-P.C. sight gags (at a party, GuyVision finds clothes melting away from the assembled honeys, while gold-digging women mentally calculate the value of men's designer clothing and accessories) coexisting next to more traditional hearts-and-flowers stuff. Cundieff's young ensemble -- especially the girl-next-doorish Campbell -- are likeable and their charm makes the lewd, coochie-booty-poonaney humor seem less offensive than it otherwise might be. The love stories, bland and perfunctory though they seem at times, are sweet. But where Sprung falls short of other, similar movies (such as the recent Booty Call) is that the jokes and comic situations lack the originality, inspired absurdity, and manic intensity they need to really shine. Overall, this isn't a bad way to spend an idle 90 minutes, but films like this are the raisons d'être for dollar cinemas. And in another week or two, that's exactly where you'll find it.