Under the Cherry Moon Movie Review

Prince followed up his cult classic Purple Rain by hopping back in front of the camera -- and behind it -- in the oddball disasterpiece Under the Cherry Moon.

For this opus, another music-filled epic writ small, Prince plays bored bachelor Christopher Tracy, who plys the French Riviera for divorcees and socialites with the help of a friend named Tricky (Jerome "The Time" Benton, who appeared in exactly three movies -- all of them starring Prince). The bulk of the story concerns his persual of Mary -- and Kristin Scott Thomas's appearance as her in this, her first motion picture, makes the movie about as noteworthy as it's going to get.

Unfortunately, Prince's directorial work pretty much sinks the ship from the start. With no experienced filmmaker there to advise against Prince taking a bath in a goucho hat or yelling out insults like "party pooper!" there's just no handle on that Prince mystique. Making the film in black and white is an inspired misstep, draining the color (where's that "cherry moon," anyway?) right out of not just the screen but the story as well. In a purple suit and lace top, Prince's goofy grin and waxed eyebrows look kitschy to the point where they're fun. In shades of gray, Prince comes off as a buffoon. The entire film feels like Pennies from Heaven without the irony.

While it's certainly got some artistic merit in lighting and set design (with a vaguely flapper feel), the end result is that Cherry Moon is a colossal bore that can't generate sympathy for any of its characters. The tepid "love story" is matched only by Benton's limp-wristed attempt at executing a faux punch to a villain's face. Stick to the rock operas, Princester.

The new DVD includes four Prince videos from music from the film -- most notably including Prince's rendition of "Kiss."


Comments

Under the Cherry Moon Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 1986

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