The box art for “My Girlfriend’s Back” promises a richly comedic feature film, though there aren’t any actual attempts to summon laughter during the movie. However, erroneous marketing is the least of this picture’s problems, with the cast and crew slumbering through a derivative, unfocused, unrealistic melodrama, featuring DNA pulled from “Barbershop” and Tyler Perry.
A rising star in his law firm, Derek (Malik Yoba) is headed for big money, a prospect that excites his materialistic longtime girlfriend, Becca (Victoria Platt). Announcing their engagement without actually being engaged, Becca enrages Derek, who finds himself forced into a professional and domestic situation he doesn’t want. Into the mix comes Nicki (Tangi Miller), Derek’s former flame, who returns to bewitch her old beau, much to his delight. As the two rekindle their love, Derek is forced to choose between responsibility and his heart, looking to his family and friends for support.
A bizarre vanity project for star Tangi Miller (who takes top billing despite not being the lead, produces and executive produces, and co-scripts), “My Girlfriend’s Back” asks the viewer to care about unlikable people in the throes of an emotional meltdown. It brings up questions of commitment, love, and responsibility, yet doesn’t follow through with a critical sense of reality. Instead, the picture lingers on formula, calling attention to subplots and settings seen in hundreds of motion pictures, submitting comfort food when originality should’ve been of primary concern.
“My Girlfriend’s Back” is only 75 minutes long, yet it’s padded with superfluous characters and patter. Instead of remaining firmly fixated on Derek’s humbling crisis, the screenplay veers off to concentrate on the woes of his brother and father, attempting to build a community ambiance for reasons not entirely understood. The aimlessness wears thins halfway through when it becomes clear the writing isn’t looking for logic to help build Derek’s house of pain, but easily avoidable contrivance, with Becca’s engagement bullying a ridiculous subplot that shatters whatever spirit of genuine confrontation the production is aiming for.
The anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation is a mixed bag, showing some true home video heft with tropical colors, creating an evocative sense of Florida throughout, emerging from an assortment of costumes. Black levels aren’t particularly strong, looking muddy during evening sequences. Some pronounced EE issues pop up during the run of the film as well. Of interest are Miller’s close-ups, which have been digitally altered to smooth out her facial features, creating an uncomfortably enhanced look that stands out from the rest of the image.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound mix isn’t a flavored affair, with a flat read of verbal exchanges. The exposition is cleanly laid out, but hardly dramatic. Soundtrack cuts are intrusive and tinny, failing to set the romantic or energetic mood intended by the filmmakers. Scoring is ineffective, but remains controlled. A 2.0 track is also included.
Spanish subtitles are offered.
A Photo Gallery is presented.
A Trailer has not been included.
“My Girlfriend’s Back” assumes the question of Derek’s future is a potent question mark until the final moments, but with Miller firmly in control of the production, the resolution of the film is a foregone conclusion. Without suspense or even the slightest element of likability, the picture becomes a standard issue waste of time, gift-wrapped for a target demographic likely to ignore something they’ve seen many times before.