Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Vivica A Fox, Morris Chestnut, Anthony Anderson, Wendy Raquel Robinson
Director: Mark Brown
Shante Smith (Vivica A Fox) is a successful, beautiful African American woman admired by her friends for many things particularly her methodical way of keeping her man, Keith Fenton (Morris Chestnut), under control. Shante is considered to be a guru in the relationship game so she is constantly advising her friends on how to deal with their men. On a night out with her friends she catches her man Keith dancing with Conny (Gabrielle Union), a female work colleague of his and her archrival, this is despite the fact that he clearly said he would be working late to Shante. This really catches her off guard, as she never imagined that Keith would lie to her. However in order to get him back under her control and to regain her level of respect from amongst her friends she instigates her famous 10-day plan, without hesitation.
Shante’s plan involves putting Keith through a series of psychological assault courses. Initially Keith is thrown off course by her approach and seeks help from his friend Tony (Anthony Anderson) – the male equivalent of Shante. This leads Shante and Keith into a series of heartaches and mind battles and then finally something that neither of them expected happens, resulting in an interesting climax!
Vivica A Fox excels in her role as the controlling Shante, handling both the comedy and drama in a very natural manner, which is well matched by Morris Chestnut’s balanced performance as her boyfriend Keith, giving his character a good emotional but strong presence. Anthony Anderson portrays his ‘playa’ character equally well with excellent comedic timing. Mark Brown’s directing keeps the film well paced throughout however the central characters would have benefited from better dialogue and more character development but Mark Brown succeeds in keeping us focussed on the unravelling drama between Shante and Keith, as the title says – TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME.
All in all this is still a great piece of entertainment that gives an enlightened and funny view on the endless battle between the sexes.