Despite the offensive title, apparently intended as satire, "How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired" is a very soft sex farce that is neither as raunchy as many R-rated comedies nor as funny as it would like to be.
In the end, however, the film's biggest flaw is its pointlessness. There's no real story here and despite a few charming and amusing moments, it's hardly enough to justify a 98-minute feature.Based on Haitian writer Dany Laferriere's autobiographical novel (he also co-wrote the screenplay), the French-Canadian film stars Isaach de Bankole ("Chocolat") as an aspiring writer, simply referred to throughout the film as "Man."
Man is a Haitian in Montreal, living in a small apartment with Bouba (Maka Kotto), a devout Moslem counselor who, it is explained, believes in only three things - Freud (whom he claims invented jazz), the Koran and sleep, which Mans says he can drop into for 72-hour stretches.
In many ways, Bouba is the more interesting character here, but both actors are effortlessly appealing and put much more into their roles than is written.
The main storyline has Man "cruising" constantly, attempting to pick up white women, in addition to the string of girlfriends who frequent his apartment. He has little nicknames for them and refers to them condescendingly, and they, likewise, treat him more like a sex object than a fully developed human being.
It's hard to fault either side too much, however, since the screenplay treats each character no less superficially. (Man's mainstay girlfriend is "Miz Literature," played by Roberta Bizeau), an uppercrust WASP student who seems much more loyal to him than he is to her.)
And between liaisons, Man takes his typewriter to the park, places it on his lap and pounds out the great Canadian (or Haitian) novel, though, oddly, he doesn't seem to know how to type.
There is also a subplot about three drug-dealing racists who try to drive Man and Bouba from the neighborhood, which occasionally brings a nasty tone to the events at hand but is never really dealt with. And in the end, despite burning down the apartment building where Man and Bouba live, it's forgotten.
Nothing in my mind justifies the title of this movie, but at least if this were hearty spoofery or biting satire one could perhaps understand a bit better what Laferriere was driving at. Unfortunately, the film never works up a full head of steam.
I liked Man, I liked Bouba even more, but I did not like the movie about them.
It is not rated but would easily net an R for sex, nudity, some profanity, violence and drugs.