Spike Lee takes the minimalist blackout style of fellow NYU film school grad Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise and jazzes it into the funniest comedy of summer '86. Nola Darling (Tracy Camila Johns), an earthily charismatic young woman, refuses to be dominated by any man. After a series of “dogs” (hilariously lampooned in a montage of fatuous opening lines), Nola selects three paramours: Greer, Mars (Lee), and Jamie—a narcissist, a space shot, and a grim believer in true love. Her independence and their clashing styles combine in comic situations that build into giddy fugues; in one example, a plaintive soliloquy by Jamie morphs into an argument with Mars about basketball and the ugliness of Larry Bird. Made for less than $30,000, Lee's first feature posed him as a rival to Woody Allen, nearly equaling him in psychological authenticity, perhaps bettering him in virtuosity and sheer creative glee. R, 84 min.