|Deliver Us From Eva is somewhat more innocent a film than the trailer would have prospective audiences believe, but even though the film doesn't exactly jump out of the starting gate, the film still hits all the familiar spots of a romantic comedy. Perhaps some of those "spots" are a little too familiar (as in predictable), but the same can be said of many of contemporary films in this genre. Being predictable isn't always a death sentence for a film, and in Eva, the formula is put to good use, even if it's not really improved upon.|
Director Gary Hardwick, who last helmed the similarly themed The Brothers, is clearly still finding his footing in the director's shoes, but this film represents a minor success as far as the genre is concerned. One cannot help but think though that the editing could have taken up some of the slack present in the first act (the first half hour or so) of the film. Romantic comedies need to pop with spontaneity and quickly delivered dialogue, but this film sometimes takes it too slow. Pacing was probably not at the top of the to-do list for the editor.
But despite the rather uninspiring beginning, the film falls into a comfortable (even if it is familiar) groove that most films of this type strive to accomplish. Owing to the realistic chemistry between stars LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union, the film proceeds in a likeable fashion throughout its second act and doesn't bother the audience with serious issues or hard-hitting drama. As romantic fluff, this movie makes its love story a sweet one. And the comedy is entertaining as well. With Union being responsible for the most hilarious moments in the film during the speeches where she verbally skewers any male unlucky enough to be in listening distance.
Of course, Union's character just might come off as annoying to some audience members, and her time on screen with LL is a nice respite from her fiery tongue. And some of what makes their relationship appealing is that the sexy dialogue thrown about by the cast isn't crass and stays very much within the lines of a romantic comedy. There's no gross-out humor here, and that allows the characters to be much more likeable than if their dialogue was more graphic. If anything, the light tone of the film should appeal heartily to fans of romantic comedies, and non-fans will be able to stomach it because of the well-done comedy.
It probably should be said that this film jumps into the arena of romantic comedies in general and doesn't make a habit of creating an environment where non-African Americans would feel lost. If anything, this comedy is very main-stream and the fact that the cast is entire African American isn't that much of an issue overall. The film should appeal to people who like romantic comedies, regardless of their race (or even their gender). Though this type of film usually gains the most fans from female viewership, this film isn't so romantically goopy that men wouldn't also find the film palatable. The comedy has universal appeal and is one of the feature's best attributes.
That the film doesn't attempt to create anything really unique in its story or with its characters is one of its only sticking points. Of course, the soundtrack isn't particularly unique either, as it contains the usual lot of like-sounding R&B tunes that populate films with predominantly black casts. And the cinematography doesn't strike one as revolutionary, but given that viewers of a romantic comedy usually like to focus on the characters, the unobtrusive camera work is suitable for the film. Perhaps the only technical issue viewers will have with the film is the flimsy editing. The film sometimes feels slower than it should. Especially for a film that includes as many sharp-witted dialogue exchanges as this film does.
Deliver Us From Eva is a comedy with the ability to make it into the mainstream, but will probably not gain many fans outside of its genre. People who enjoy sexually tinged comedy and romance will like the way relationships and family are represented in this film, though the unique factor definitely isn't in the mix. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, unless you're interested in something more than a "standard" romantic comedy. With likeable characters and engaging performances, it's easy to care about the characters in this film, even if discerning their future doesn't require a trip to a woman with a crystal ball. Eva probably would have earned additional points if it had taken chances with its material, or if the running time had been cut down by a few minutes. But if standard filmmaking is your game, the story and characters will probably be satisfying enough.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.