Disappearing Acts (2000)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama, Urban Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 9, 2000 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Michael Hastings

Bolstered by a knockout performance from the perennially underutilized Wesley Snipes, director Gina Prince-Bythwood's adaptation of the popular Terry McMillan novel avoids "you go, girl" clich├ęs to fashion a richer, more serious look at modern urban romance. If anything, Disappearing Acts is a sort of anti-romantic comedy: Price-Bythwood finds a dark undercurrent of regret and desperation in the material, perfectly complemented by the pensive, cautious performances of her two leads. In what could have been another lecherous-boyfriend role, Snipes gives a riveting, sensuous, and utterly convincing turn as the brutish, non-communicative construction worker whose modest ambitions are consistently undermined by his low self-image. In the cushier role of the educated, upwardly mobile striver, Sanaa Lathan finds ways to suggest romantic emptiness and longing without implying that it's impossible for a young woman to achieve both a successful career and a satisfying love life. Even within the confines of made-for-cable cinema, Prince-Bythwood's work is loose and visually assured; she gives the script's conflicts room to breathe -- or fester, as the case may be -- and Snipes and Lahan respond, imbuing every sigh and pregnant pause with added weight and nuance.