Why Do Fools Fall in Love? | Chicago Reader

Why Do Fools Fall in Love?

In this movie about teen idol Frankie Lymon (Larenz Tate), the arduous performances of Tate, Halle Berry, and Vivica A. Fox are upstaged by exploitation elements, such as a compelling cameo by Little Richard. The story—doled out in the form of testimony at a hearing to establish which of three women claiming to be Lymon's widow gets to inherit his estate—relies heavily on the cliches of tumultuous-relationship melodramas and addiction stories and the allure of 50s and 60s costumes and decor. To suggest that Lymon may have been three different men to three different women, the movie plays with the idea that the characters' seemingly contradictory versions of the past may be compatible. But director Gregory Nava and writer Tina Andrews often set up scenes to seem more like flashbacks than fabrications, then cast doubt on their content in a way that seems arbitrary. Still, one deliriously persuasive sequence in this uneven 1998 biopic simulates the seductive experience of watching a worshiped performer onstage. With Lela Rochon.

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