Jungle Fever

Director: Spike Lee
Year Released: 1991
Rating: 2.0

You can see the setup quite clearly from the beginning (Lee doesn't exactly act covertly): an architect with a strict family (Wesley Snipes) gets curious about a secretary with a strict family (Annabella Sciorra) - they have a fling and their families (and communities) react with outrage. The problem with Lee is certainly not the relevance of the picture - inter-racial couples are not accepted by American culture - but the way he presents it: there's a solid foundation and a lot of passion, but his approach is so gaudy and overblown that he's not happy until the police are waving their guns in Snipes' face, until Sciorra is getting beaten by her father, until John Turturro's character (who is interested in a black girl) gets beaten by his father and by his friends. It's not enough that the Samuel L. Jackson character's a drug addict, it's that he has to threaten his parents, destroy their house and smoke crack in an abandoned warehouse in a scene more out of the German Expressionist era than modern cinema. It's not enough that he has a ton of songs on the soundtrack, but he has to play those songs over his scenes so you can't focus on what the actors are saying. However, there is one point Spike makes that everyone can agree with: regardless of race, all families are equally crazy.