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Vivica Fox's Birthday Is Today; Celebrate By Revisiting One Of Her Earliest Films: 'Booty Call'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 30, 2012 at 10:25PM

On Vivica Fox's 48th birthday, a look at one of her earliest films; no, not Set It Off, as you might expect (it's a bit too easy, and an obvious a choice); but rather the film she made right after that, 1997's Booty Call.
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Vivica Fox

On Vivica Fox's 48th birthday, a look at one of her earliest films; no, not Set It Off, as you might expect (it's a bit too easy, and an obvious a choice); but rather the film she made right after that, 1997's Booty Call.

If I were to launch an S&A series revisiting Vivica Fox's *forgotten films* Booty Call would probably be on that list.

It's one of those "black films" that has come to exemplify (in the minds of many black folks) - although some would say unfairly - the least ideal, least desired kind of commercial, mainstream "black cinema" (Soul Plane would probably be right up there too).

I haven't watched the film since it debuted in 1997 - about 15 years ago; but yet it oddly still feels quite fresh in my mind for some reason. I can still remember it quite vividly actually, and being entertained by it.

The film has been decried frequently, and has become almost a kind of curse word, we could say; like one of those things that shouldn't be spoken about with any amount of satisfaction or appreciation, for fear of being smacked, whether literally or figuratively.

But I'd also say that it's for those reasons that it's become something of a cult favorite in other circles, or one of those proverbial guilty pleasures for countless folks. 

So was it really that bad?

Maybe the question should instead be, why it's so polarizing; it seems like audiences either really love it, or hate it with a passion - based on random surveys I've done.

It's a risque, unabashedly crude and lewd sex romp, laced with preaching about the necessity for safe sex. And I recall being entertained by it at the time I saw it in 1997, even though I did feel that there just wasn't enough material to hold up the film for its full running time; but I was also much younger then, and wasn't at all interested in film as a career of any sort. So, as I saw it then, it was silly, harmless entertainment; A farce that I felt some took far too seriously, and rejected as some kind of Scarlet Letter for "black cinema."

Although, I've certainly matured quite a bit over the last 15 years, and my film vocabulary, as well as my overall awareness and critical thinking skills, have evolved accordingly; and it's partly for that reason that I want to, and NEED TO watch the film again, 15 years later, if only to reach an opinion that's informed by my current sensibilities. And I'll do just that this week.

Maybe I'll still be entertained as I was back then; or maybe I'll cringe a lot; or maybe even get so upset with it that I wouldn't get through the entire movie. Who knows?

Regardless, I'm giving Booty Call another go. So, wish me luck! And I'll return with my new thoughts afterward.

The film was made for about $7 Million, which was actually a descent budget for its time (especially for a film like this), and it still is even today. I think it'll be a challenge for any black filmmaker to attract that kind of money for a project in this climate.

Directed by Jeff Pollack from a script by Takashi Bufford (his last feature film script), Booty Call grossed a not-very-impressive $20 million in theatres. Although, I don't know how well, or how badly it did on DVD; but given that it's become a cult favorite or guilty pleasure for some, I'd guess that it did, and continues to do well enough on the home video market.

I wonder how Vivica feels about it today? Or any of her co-stars - Jamie Foxx, Tamala Jones and Tommy Davidson (don't forget the late Bernie Mac's brief appearance in it).

But Happy Birthday Vivica Fox. I remember there was once a rumor that Vernita Green, a.k.a. Copperhead (the character she played in Kill Bill), might show up in another Kill Bill film, in which her daughter, Nikki, grows up and avenges her mother's death. If you recall, Vernita's daughter Nikki unintentionally witnesses her mother's death at the hands of The Bride. On exiting Vernita's destroyed home (thanks to their vicious fight), the Bride apologizes to Nikki, and then adds that, when Nikki grows up, if she ever wants to avenge her mother's death, she (The Bride) will be waiting for her.

I remember some hoped that we'd see that film; alas, it never came. Don't hold you breath either.

Here's the trailer for Booty Call as a reminder:


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