A few months back, I had rented a couple of movie DVDs, one was “The Family That Preys,” (AKA “Tyler Perry’s Dallas”) and the other was “Lakeview Terrace.” I said I would render my opinions on both films, so let me finally get around to talking about the latter.
I liked it, plain and simple. Lisa (Kerry Washington) and Chris (Patrick Wilson) are newlyweds who have just bought a house in a hilly, suburban ethnically mixed neighborhood. But their immediate neighbor, Abel (Sam Jackson), is a menacing pain in the butt who disapproves of their relationship and doesn’t conceal his disdain for them. But lest you think this is a battle between pure good (Team Lisa and Chris) and ign’ant evil (Abel), the director adds some shading to the characters just to keep you guessing as to whose side you should be on.
Even the people who were basically good like Chris and Lisa, suffered from occasional, unflattering moments For instance, Lisa’s had a brief bout of smarmy overreaction when she told Chris that his parents tell her “over and over” that they love her. I liked the way that the director poked at their tender underbellies, put them under pressure and forced the characters to show what they’re really made of.
Here are two of my favorite moments. The first is when Lisa broaches the topic of having a baby. Chris, displaying all the immaturity of a man clinging to his adolescence, says: “We’ll get around to it. We don’t know how any of this is gonna play out.” Oh really?? What exactly does Chris mean by “any of this”?? The house or a pregnancy or maybe the marriage?! Kind of knocked him down a notch in my estimation. But I was still rooting for the couple, for Lisa’s sake.
The other unflattering slip comes from Lisa’s father (Ron Glass), to Chris: “Are you going to have children with my daughter?” The hits just keep on coming! Considering that Chris and Lisa are married, whom did Harold expect Chris to have kids with? Hmmm? Wouldn’t it be a piece of trifling, ghetto nonsense for Chris to have Lisa as his trophy wife sitting up in a house on a hill, only to turn around knock up some side project someplace else? Honestly, the men in this film are less than impressive at times.
Samuel Jackson’s character, as it turns out, was bitter about Lisa and Chris’ relationship—and other BW/WM pairings, presumably—because his wife apparently cheated on him with a white man. So now in his mind, white men get through life thinking they are entitled to whatever they want, including other men’s wives. Eh, I thought that motivation was a bit trite, but it didn’t take away from Sam Jackson’s entertaining performance.
Go out and rent this film, if you haven’t seen it already. The scenery and sets are attractive. It’s good to see Ron Glass again, and most importantly, the director does not punish Lisa for being with a white many by having her get back-slapped so hard she goes flying across a counter top. Although there is one scene, where a guy breaks into their house, and …