Deliver Us from Eva (2003) / Romantic Comedy
MPAA Rated: R, for sex-related humor
Running Time: 105 min.
Cast: LL Cool J, Gabrielle Union, Essence Atkins, Robinne Lee, Meagan Good, Duane Martin
Director: Gary Hardwick
Screenplay: James Iver Mattson, B.E. Brauner, Gary Hardwick
Review published February 11, 2003
I wonder if they actually cast LL Cool J (Rollerball, Deep Blue Sea) in Deliver Us from Eva, or whether they just created an animatronic replica. It would seem that his only requirement throughout the film would be to lift his left eyebrow, wink, smile, touch his nose, or blow a kiss before, after and during any lines he had to deliver. I suppose he is in full "mack mode" in this dumbed-down version of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew", but I suspect these kinds of flirtations work for him best in real-life, where he is greatly aided by the fact that he is a wealthy superstar in the world of rap. As the meat merchant out to woo cold-as-ice man-eater Gabrielle Union (Bring It On, Cradle 2 the Grave), this one-man puppet show seems a bit farfetched when it comes to melting someone as attractive, strong, and intelligent as the woman Union is supposed to be, who should be used to such trite attempts to get in her pants.
Union is the Eva of the title, a health inspector that takes it upon herself to look after her three sisters, all of whom respect her for her strong will and ability to be independent. The sisters' significant others all despise Eva, because they can't do anything without her approval, and she is quick to shoot them down whenever they try to become the man of the house. The men decide to hire the local player who is irresistible to women, Ray (Cool J), to try to teach Eva a lesson, by melting her icy exterior, then dumping her cruelly. Problems arise when Ray's icy interior melts as well.
Although starting off in a decent fashion, setting up good characters who are unique without being too eccentric, the film begins to stumble into pat predictability once the romance begins to take form. From then, it becomes confusing in motivation and flounders in execution, and what were once intelligent characters become idiotic and grating on one's nerves. The movie is never as funny as the casting would lead you to think it should be, and once all of the cards are revealed in Ray's intentions to court Eva, things descend rapidly into embarrassingly awful depths.
Deliver Us from Eva isn't exactly excruciating, mostly due to a likeable cast, yet as a romantic comedy, it's still not worth shelling out bucks for. A very similar comedy, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, isn't great either, but is definitely better than sitting though this misfire if you have to see this sort of movie. Gabrielle Union shows some appeal, but in terms of laughs, Deliver Us from Eva fails to deliver.
©2003 Vince Leo