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Flashback: “Boomerang”

Boomerang is one of those movies that almost always invokes a smile whenever you get into a discussion about it. From the famous “You got to coordinate” scene with John Witherspoon to the laughable eccentricities of Strange’ played by Grace Jones, the film contained impeccable comedic beats.

Eddie Murphy plays Marcus, a successful advertising executive who enjoys his Don Juan lifestyle but ends up getting a taste of his own medicine when he falls for his new boss Jacqueline played by Robin Givens.

The film, released in 1992, was written by Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield. With a budget of $42 million, it went on to gross $131 million worldwide. It probably was a career “game-changer” for most of the actors and actresses who appeared in it

Reginald Hudlin, the director, acknowledges he drew inspiration from Francois Truffaut stating…”I remember when I saw Jules and Jim when I was a kid, and that awkward, awkward feeling of two guys, one has a better time with girls than the other, and they both fall in love with the same woman. And I remember the agony of watching the emotional stakes of that picture. And, this is just a fun movie, not trying to compare myself to Truffaut on any level, but, at least, that’s what inspired the moment.”

I often wonder did playing the seductive “bad girl” role hurt Robin Givens as opposed to the perky and happy “girl-next-door” character Halle Berry was assigned which made the audience cheerfully root for her. I’m inclined to believe that Robin never fully recovered from that.

More than anything, the film makes you long for Eddie Murphy. His fast paced, comedic banter is something sorely missed in films today and, hopefully, we’ll get to see that again.

Below are clips from the film and an old review by Siskel & Ebert.

21 comments to Flashback: “Boomerang”

  • You know, I wanted to watch this the other day, and was on Netflix searching for it, only to find out that it wasn’t available there. So I sent Netflix a message to find out why, and they said that it was essentially out of print. What the hell? It’s not like it’s some obscure 1930s flick. But, oddly, Amazon has it on sale and VOD as well. So, I don’t know what’s going on over at Netflix.

  • chester

    You are right..i watched “trading places” today “coming to america two days ago” and golden child a month ago” and I still continue to laugh..we want the Old eddie

  • Rasheed

    Love this flick!
    It’s well written: witty instead of LCD gut laughs.

    Great, understated performances from all the principals: no men in dresses or pounds of prosthetic makeup.

    An upper class environment that simply served as a setting rather than a statement.

    It’s a shame that in many ways, Black mainstream cinema has actually regressed since 1992.

    • An upper class environment that simply served as a setting rather than a statement.

      Yes! This is something that my Mom and I were discussing a few weeks ago, comparing the setting of Boomerang to Two Can Play That Game. It’s baffling that black cinema now has to “explain” black wealth, or worse, the characters have to affirm their “downness” or be called bougie (happens too often for my liking on The Game and even on Girlfriends).

  • Cynthia

    “An upper class environment that simply served as a setting rather than a statement.”

    Great point!

  • Zeus

    MAAAAAAARCUS! R.I.P Eartha Kitt. :)

  • slb

    The last GREAT Eddie Murphy movie. As much as I loved the Nutty Professors those weren’t what I call “Eddie Murphy” movies. Although he should have been nominated for Best Actor for the first movie. Boomerang has quotables for days. Plus it had an All Star cast of Black talent. Old (Geoffrey Holder, Eartha Kitt, Grace Jones, Melvin Van Peebles) and new (Eddie, DAG, Martin, Halle, Robin, Chris Rock, Lela Rochon, Tisha).

  • Shanea

    This is one of my favorite movies for many of the above reasons. My favorite line was delivered by Halle’s character: “Love shoulda brought your ass home last night!” This is definitely an Eddie classic. And it also had a wonderful soundtrack… by the way, whatever happened to soundtracks?? lol

  • RB

    I definitely concur with all the comments here!!! I long for the old Eddie Murphy! Also, the cast was so wonderful, each role was perfectly played. You don’t see that anymore~~ I mean everything, the writing, music, were all great!!!!! And this film has quotes for dayzzz!~ You just don’t see these types of films anymore. It’s too bad. I miss it!

  • My favorite movie of all time! I even started a series of posts on my blog called the Marcus Graham Chronicles in honor of he film.

    But this movie if you noticed had all black people inb power positions and rarely if any white people in position of such. I have always thought that was a reason this movie wasn’t more heralded.

    To the song track. Small tidbit of info but all of the songs Toni Braxton was featured on originally were writen for Anita Baker but she was going through a depression at the time and declined at the last minute

    • Cynthia

      Wow. I didn’t know that! Hmmm…I wonder would Anita’s voice have the same impact as Toni’s?

      • slb

        Yeah, originally Toni was only going to duet with Babyface on “Give U My Heart”. But after Anita Baker turned down “Love Shoulda Brought You Home”, she got her shot on that song as well. That was her breakout song. So much that it was included on her debut album the next year.

  • Rasheed

    In regards to the whole class issue: In Boomerang, the characters just ‘were’. No need for explanations or excuses, this is where we are… now let’s move on and get into the story. No silly pandering to faux-Blackness (ghettocentricity) and Witherspoon hadn’t gone totally off the rails with his schtick yet. I think Murphy, Berry, and Lawrence need to “come home” and get with some strong Black talent behind the camera.

  • Art McGee

    I will always hold to the belief that Eddie Murphy was at one time a greater revolutionary cinema wise than Spike Lee. Eddie delivered while Spike pandered.

    Yet today, people think of Spike as the person who led a Black cinema renaissance. Wrong. Eddie led that charge, until he fell off. Come back to us Eddie! Please!

    • Come on man! Eddie Murphy was more revolutionary cinema wise than Spike Lee?!

      Okay, I am going to try to be nice today, so maybe you have a special definition for “cinema wise”?

      But, come on man, not Spike, take that back. You’ll be a better man if you do. As it stands, your “props” card is suspended.

  • Rasheed

    Really? How so? Eddie Murphy’s only done one film, Boomerang, directed by a Black man. I guess you can include Harlem Nights since he directed himself. Coming To America, while it had a predominantly Black, cast was directed by a white guy. Murphy’s biggest films were the one’s where he was the only Black actor of note in the cast. I don’t understand how you believe that he was more revolutionary than Lee who consistently makes films about various aspects of the Black experience.

  • Great comments all around. I simply love this movie, as well. TOO MANY quotables as many of you have pointed out. The entire cast was beautiful—including John Witherspoon and his silk, mushroom-print lined trousers and jacket. :) You gotta ‘cooordinate’ :D

  • KB

    In response to the question about did playing the “bad girl” role hurt RG’s career: I could have. I’m inclined to believe that auds weren’t ready to deal with a confident, driven and sensuous black woman who doesn’t mind mixing business with pleasure. Her char was my favorite for those reasons and more. So in that regards, I never saw Jacqueline as “bad”, but just like any other successful business person, man or woman… Ambitous and unaffected.

  • Robin Givens gave an amazing performance. Jacqueline is her best character to date. Articulate, driven, professional. You can’t take your eyes off of her. She could easily hold her own against the Heather Locklears of the “Melrose Place” world. Hell, I believe she inspired that character. *cough* Boomerang (’92) *cough* Heather on Melrose (’93) *cough cough*.