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THE INKWELL

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: This misfire is the recipient of yet another Blu-ray upgrade from Kino Lorber, though one wonders if it will sell enough to warrant the confidence. Matty Rich hit it big with “Straight Out of Brooklyn” in 1991 and this was his sophomore film. Sadly, he’s never made another. (According to Wikipedia, Rich became an entrepreneur of Christian-themed videogames.) Here's my Deseret News review, published on May 17, 1994.

“The Inkwell” is a follow-up to the low-budget, independent and very personal "Straight Out of Brooklyn," which garnered so much attention for 19-year-old filmmaker Matty Rich at the Sundance Film Festival three years ago.

But "The Inkwell" is a bigger-budget Hollywood picture, and Rich seems at sea with the material.

     

               A.J. Johnson, Larenz Tate, 'The Inkwell'

The setting is a strip of beach at Martha's Vineyard during the summer of ’76, an area referred to as "The Inkwell" because it serves as a vacation spot for upscale blacks.

The story focuses on a 16-year-old boy (Larenz Tate), whose parents (Joe Morton, Suzanne Douglas) take him for a summer vacation to his aunt and uncle's place in Martha's Vineyard. The trouble is, his father is an ex-Black Panther and very liberal, while his uncle is an arch-conservative.

If this sounds like it has potential to be a ripe comedy, don't get your hopes up. Instead, it turns into a dull reworking of "The Summer of ’42," with Larenz learning about life — and ultimately, about sex — as he finds himself attracted to a girl his own age and a couple of adult women.

     

               Duane Martin, Larenz Tate, 'The Inkwell'

But there is nothing to distinguish the film, aside from a lot of poorly staged slapstick, primarily from Tate, who makes his character so goofy that he would be better suited to a sitcom. Meanwhile, the parents seem to be trying to imitate the Bill Cosby-Richard Pryor segment of "California Suite."

This is an unfortunate misfire from a young director who has apparently bitten off more than he can chew. Let's hope he fares better next time.

"The Inkwell" is rated R for language, as well as some sex and nudity.