An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
DVD Review by Kam Williams
Jay-Z Produced Romantic Romp Arrives on DVD
When a gangsta rapper like Jay-Z decides to dabble in filmmaking, it only makes sense that the flick might remind you more of his genre of popular music than a typical movie. That’s precisely the case with An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, an unorthodox romance drama produced by the incomparable hip-hop icon.
Written, directed, edited, scored, narrated by and animated by Terrence Nance (How Would You Feel?), the surreal adventure co-stars Renaissance Man Nance opposite Namik Minter as friends in a platonic relationship on the verge of turning venereal. The ambitious, multimedia undertaking not only mixes cartoon and live-action images, but it also walks a fine line between drama and documentary.
While the protagonists try to sort out their feelings, the picture poses some thought-provoking questions, such as, “How do you balance logic and emotions?” Unfortunately, the film is afflicted with a fatal flaw, namely, a virtually non-stop narration of the play-by-play which starts to get on your nerves after about five minutes.
Granted, this could just be an age thing, since the Hip-Hop Generation is already used to hearing incessant, mindless, staccato-style chatter in their favorite songs. So, it might not be that big a jump for them to have to listen to a non-stop voiceover for the duration of a movie. Nevertheless, the slick poetry slam approach definitely didn’t do it for this critic.
Another annoying aspect of the experience was how the audience is addressed directly by the disembodied voice, as in “You arrive at your home,” “You empty your pockets,” “You have no bed and no money,” “You possess no means of personal transportation,” and so forth. Granted, Jay McInerney effectively employed the 2nd person in his best-selling novel “Bright Lights, Big City,” but it simply fails to work here as a cinematic device.
Ghetto psychobabble strictly for the attention-deficit demographic.
Fair (1 star)
Running time: 93 minutes
Distributor: Cinema Guild
DVD Extras: Audio commentary with director Terence Nance; audio commentary with actress Namik Minter; Exorcising Rejection (2008, 8 mins), a short film by Terence Nance; How Would You Feel? (2006, 7 mins), the original short film by Terence Nance; deleted scenes; and the theatrical trailer.
To see a trailer for An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, visit: