All Between Us

Newsflash – Tiffany Haddish is lighting up the big screen yet again. All Between Us is a comedic drama directed and produced by newcomer Jamie Jones. Starring one of this generation’s finest entertainers, the leading cast includes Haddish herself, alongside Denyce Lawton, Brian Hooks, and Christian Levatino. Thanks to the comedian’s star power, one can only expect the film to attract multitudes of viewers, but ruefully even a widely adored actress can’t save this movie.

Don’t get me wrong, Haddish is an actual living-and-breathing beaming ray of sunlight. She possesses that rare charisma which can miraculously charm the socks off anyone in a thousand-mile vicinity. I am amongst the millions of people all over the world who have fallen under her spell. Which is why going into All Between Us, I was more than ecstatic. Expectations sky-high, I found myself feeling sorely let down as the final credits rolled.

Taking place in the same apartment, over the course of one tumultuous evening, the narrative could best be described as a walking disaster. Spanning from a second-rate production quality to a principal cast with not much to say, the 73 minutes is wrought with a wooden plotline and unlikeable characters. It covers the misadventures of a recently engaged couple, Clara (Denyce Lawton) and Ray (Brian Hooks), as they prepare to tell their loved ones some momentous news at a dinner party.

“…the misadventures of a recently engaged couple…as they prepare to tell their loved ones some momentous news at a dinner party.”

The storyline is one that attempts to delve into a failing relationship, in a subtle nod towards an against-the-grain romantic film sentiment. It goes a little something like this; man and woman first meet at a bar. Fast forward three years and the two are engaged and living together, preparing to take their relationship to the next level. We find out fairly quickly that boyfriend Ray is cheating on Clara – with her best-friend Mishawn (Tiffany Haddish), nonetheless. From there, we are introduced to an elongated sequence featuring a family whose interactions with all other dinner guests borderlines on pathologically cruel.

My biggest complaint would have to be about the script itself. Lacking any form of depth or reason, you will inevitably wince watching the scenes inch along at a snail’s pace. As the anticipated dinner finally arrives, Clara’s brother, sister-in-law, and parents all show up and toss around insults at everyone around them, with a special focus on breaking down the girl’s soft-spoken fiancé. You would hope that this particular sequence would liven things up, but it does precisely the opposite. What began with the premise of a movie about a couple’s deteriorating relationship evolves into an exchange of insults so cold-hearted that it makes you doubt the authenticity of the entire picture. What is All Between Us really trying to say?

All things considered, the strength of this feature lies in its daring attempt at originality.

“…a couple’s deteriorating relationship evolves into an exchange of insults so cold-hearted…”

While it lands miles and miles away from its mark, you can applaud the production team for the bravado in their choice to film in one solitary spot. For this reason, the movie does maintain a refreshingly personal air. Alas, the cinematic creativity doesn’t cut it on its own.

A final note on the lingering question for those anxiously anticipating yet another delightful film by this Girls Trip star – does Tiffany Haddish make this flick watchable? An honest-to-God answer would be a regrettable no. Although her personification of fun-loving Mishawn earns a few chuckles, making you feel blessed by the reigning comedy queen, her limited screen-time doesn’t make up for the bland narrative.

If Haddish can’t turn this production around, you better believe that no one can. The fault isn’t her’s; nor is it Denyce, Brian’s, or Christian Levatino’s. Talent is not the issue here. The crucial drawback of All Between Us lies in a confused plot.

All Between Us (2018) Directed by Jamie Jones. Written by Ev Duran. Starring Tiffany Haddish, Denyce Lawton, Brian Hooks, and Christian Levatino.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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