I always have high hopes for films for and by blacks. We have to support the black entertainment community so that our children can enjoy them, too. That said, it’s hard to support a black production when it’s not good.
In the latest black production, The Heart Specialist, Dr. Sidney Zachary, played by Wood Harris, decides to write a novel so he can be the next Michael Crichton. The book is supposed to be about a love triangle with the subplot being that laughter is the best medicine. In classic B-movie tense, art imitates life as Dr. Zach and his girl, Donna (Zoe Saldana) are caught up in a love triangle with Dr. Ray Howard (Brian White).
If this were a Facebook feed, my response to this film would be “SMH (shaking my head.)” What was screenwriter and director Dennis Cooper thinking when he came up with mish mash story? The story might be believable if it didn’t
look like it had been filmed two decades ago and the hospital setting weren’t
so obviously fake.
The doctors in this film aren’t even believable as doctors, up to and including Harris. Maybe, if I squint, I can see White as a doctor.
When it comes to character development, however, Cooper has a few good marks. Dr. Zach, Donna, and Dr. Howard seem fleshed out enough to be whole characters. But, there was still something missing amongst them all.
In the instance of the plot, it’s completely weak and riddled with holes. A major character is dying, but never looks sick; even when he dies. The issues that Dr. Howard are having with his ex-girlfriend, Valerie (Mya), aren’t explained enough to justify their presence in the plot. Certain things are never explained. And, neither Dr. Zach’s nor Nephew Tommy’s comedic acts are funny.
Essentially, what Cooper has here is a film that has some good talent, like Jennifer Lewis, Marla Gibbs, and Jasmine Guy, but no interesting story; which is weird because Cooper has written for such television series as Miami Vice, Chicago Hope, Hill Street Blues, and St. Elsewhere. Apparently, Cooper's talent did not translate to The Heart Specialist, which is weak in every area a film can be weak in, including cinematography.
This film was shot in Los Angeles in 2006. It should not look like a 1980s B-movie. The entire premise of this film seems outdated, as well. How did it make it to theaters?
I really wanted to root for this film, whose other actors of note are Terrence Jenkins of 106th and Park, Leon, Ed Asner, and Method Man. But, this film was poorly shot, poorly executed, poorly written, poorly directed, and poorly edited. SMH, indeed.
Kimberly Grant may be contacted at KAliciaG@aol.com.