Fast money may help you pay your bills and enable you to immerse yourself in the trappings of success. But fast money also sends a bill that may wind up costing you your moral equilibrium, your conscience, your sanity, make you take unwanted life detours and sometimes cost you the ones you love.
Robert Ri’chard is faced with this quagmire in the provocative, pulsating drama Chocolate City, which is an orgy of sights that features endless parades of glistening black male bodies in various stages of nudity — much to the delight of women nationwide.
Feeling claustrophobic as his low-wage, low-ceiling job was closing in on him, Ri’chard, who plays Michael McCoy, felt forced to prostitute his principals in order to stack that paper and rescue his overworked and over-burdened mother from certain financial collapse.
Ri’chard, who was known best for slapstick-style comedy, shows his maturation as actor as he takes the helm as the son of Vivica A. Fox as Katherine McCoy. He wants to avert the household from impending ruin — plus he gets no help from listless and useless older brother Chris McCoy (played by DeRay Davis) –and enters into the golden prison of male stripping and easy money at a club own by Princeton (played by Michael Jai White).
White, who has shown dexterity in wrapping his brain around both comedic roles (“For Better or Worse,” Why Did I Get Married? I and II) as well as multidimensional characters (Tois), plays a seedy and shadowy figure who thrives on the periphery of decent society. His temptations for fast bucks reaches out from the urban underbelly and grabs Ri’chard like poison tentacles, leading his character down the back alley of life and into a quicksand of instability and personal tumult from which he may not recover.
What has been billed as the black Magic Mike — and even the main characters of both movies share the same character name as well as feature the song “Pony” by Genuwine — is a movie definitely written and produced for women and their ladies’ night parties.
Written and produced by Jean-Claude La Marre (who also plays a pastor in the film), the movie didn’t delve very deeply in the problems that are prevalent, if not pervasive, in the world of stripping, such as pimping and gratuitous drug use that strippers often use to deaden the senses often required to be objectified and grind on bodies every night.
But as a light-hearted affair that doesn’t try to preach, and one that women will enjoy, Chocolate City succeeded.