Prince, whose ego far outsizes his slight frame, has written, directed and composed songs for a new movie in which he also stars - "Graffiti Bridge." And if you thought "Under the Cherry Moon" was pretentious . . . .
"Graffiti Bridge" is a very heavy-handed sequel, of sorts, to Prince's 1984 film debut, "Purple Rain," which was written and directed much more successfully by others.Prince's character, the Kid, is still battling prissy Morris Day and his band, The Time (who provide the film's only attempts at humor), this time over the ownership of the nightclub Glam Slam. Each was left half of the club in a will and Day wants to make it just like other clubs he owns so it will turn a handy profit. The Kid has something else in mind.
What it seems to boil down to is what kind of music will be played there, with the paying public flocking to Day's clubs after they get a look at Prince's more "spiritual," but no less sexual, material. (There's a lot of talk about "spiritual" values, but little evidence of it in action; at one point Prince even strikes a pose resembling Christ on the cross.)
Eventually, the story builds to a "battle of the bands" to decide which direction the club will take, but the film runs out of steam well before that disappointing "battle."
As in Prince's other films, women are treated here as nothing more than sex objects, often wearing very revealing costumes, including newcomer Ingrid Chavez as Aura, who is apparently an angel.
She spends most of her time writing bad poetry beneath a rock bridge covered with graffiti on what is very obviously a movie set. Her early appearances in the film are as a vision in the eyes of the Kid. When she appears in the flesh it is at first to Day, who takes her to one of his clubs and gets her drunk, then takes her home to take advantage of her. But the Kid rescues her and she eventually helps him realize his dreams.
Needless to say, this story is more than a little ridiculous, told in a dreamlike state of confusion, with brief snippets of narrative dialogue in between lavish musical numbers.
The music is the thing, of course, with inventive sets, lively choreography and some good songs - music critics have hailed the "Graffiti Bridge" album as Prince's best work in some time. But a 90-minute music video gets old fast; as a movie "Graffiti Bridge" leaves much to be desired.
Fans are advised to spend their money on the album instead.
"Graffiti Bridge" is rated PG-13 but is raunchy enough to be in R territory, with sex, partial nudity, profanity, vulgarity and violence.