The WoodJuly 16, 1999
While dealing with a friend's cold feet on his wedding day, a writer reminisces about his youth with his best friends.
Release Year: 1999
Rating: 6.2/10 (3,679 voted)
Critic's Score: 52/100
Stars: Elayn J. Taylor, Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones
On the wedding day of a writer's friend, things aren't looking good when the groom goes missing before the ceremony. During his and his other male friend's effort to retrieve him, that writer named Mike can't help but tell the story of his youth with his friends. Ever since he met them on his first day at a new school, they shared the common experiences of growing up and life's discoveries.
Writers: Rick Famuyiwa, Todd Boyd
Elayn J. Taylor
(as Elayn Taylor)
Richard T. Jones
(as De'Aundre Bonds)
Cashiers in Mini Mart
Cashiers in Mini Mart
From boyhood to manhood, you can always count on your best friends.
Paramount Pictures |
Release Date: 16 July 1999
Filming Locations: Inglewood, California, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $8,515,223
(18 July 1999)
(17 October 1999)
Did You Know?
In a recent visit to USC, his alma mater, Rick Famuyiwa revealed that Paramount executives wanted the character of Mike to pinch Alicia's buttocks in the end scene for added laughs. Needless to say, Famuyiwa balked at this and never shot this. The opening Steadicam shot took almost an entire day to shoot.
Errors in geography:
St. Bernard High School is actually located in Los Angeles, Playa Del Ray, California not Inglewood.
Ms. Hughes, what page fifteen on?
Light and low on plot but an enjoyable little film with charm
Three hours before his wedding and Roland is nowhere to be found. His best
friends, Mike and Slim, are both stressed trying to work out where they
could be when they both get pages from his ex-girlfriend. They go to her
house to find him drunk and experiencing doubts. As they drive around,
sober him up and dry clean their suits for the wedding, they take time to
uncover why he has doubts and also take a trip down memory lane and where
they grew up in Inglewood.
Having seen several films on the trot where race is used to `comic' effect
in a string of endless racist jokes it was refreshing to sit and watch a
film where the cast were almost 100% black but the story was not told in
relation to the colour of it's characters. Instead the story is a straight
story of childhood memories and it could easily have been any culture
telling it. Of course there is a thread of black culture running through
the film but it is simply there as opposed to being the
The story is slight and not totally together but it is interesting. The
reasons for Roland's doubts are not made totally clear by the end of the
film and there is a suggestion that it is really just a frame for the
memories to occur within. This isn't too bad as the memories are really
more of the story than the modern day trigger is. Both strands work quite
well as long as you don't expect too much, it has a gentle humour that is
pleasant and enjoyable and both strands seem to be able to carry it. The
`to-camera' narration was a bit of a risk that I thought it didn't totally
carry off but, happily, after the first 10 minutes it is pretty much absent
for the rest of the film. Some of the strands don't totally come to a close
and the fact that the main plot (Roland going missing on his wedding day) is
mostly a side issue is a distraction but not to a detrimental
The cast are all pretty good. Epps is a good lead and is a likeable
character. Diggs is good looking but he doesn't act as well as he can for
much of the movie his `drunk' acting is pretty poor although he gets
better as he sobers up. Jones is a bit of a comedy figure but does his job
well despite being the least developed of the three. The teenage actors all
carry themselves well, although in this modern tabloid world of hysteria it
is a little uncomfortable to watch two young teenagers have sex (although I
was relieved to find that the sexy one of them, Malinda Williams, was
actually 24 when she played a 14 year old). The women are all very good
looking but have lesser roles as the males take the meat of the story
Tamala Jones is good and Epps' co-star from Love & Basketball (Sanaa Lathan)
joins him for a brief role.
Overall it is a very light film that has a plot in a very basic sense but is
really more of a nostalgic trip down the teenage years that is told with
honesty and humour. It may not resemble any life I ever had but there were
themes I could relate to. Slight but fun and, after seeing National
Security, Undercover Brother and Bringing Down the House (where race is used
for humour, rather than being a side issue) The Wood was also a breath of