‘Brown Sugar’ (2002) Review

Sidney and Dre are childhood friends who bonded over their mutual love of hip hop. As adults, Dre works for a mainstream record company and Sidney has just become the editor in chief of the hip hop magazine, XXL. They’re still as close as ever, but things get a bit complicated when Dre proposes to his girlfriend Reese and unresolved feelings between him and Sidney surface.

I absolutely adore Sanaa Lathan and I really do enjoy watching Taye Diggs as well. Push them together and I am in rom-com heaven. I already loved them in The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday so it was a no brainer to watch Brown Sugar. Or, rewatch it! I hadn’t seen this movie in a long time but I remember loving it, and I still do. Lathan and Diggs have such amazing chemistry together and that chemistry holds up in Brown Sugar.

There’s only a brief scene of Dre and Sidney as kids before transitioning to the “present” where they’re both adults on their own successful career paths, but we don’t need a bunch of exposition about their friendship over the years. Because of Diggs and Lathan’s chemistry, we fully accept that they’re best friends. Their interactions, attraction, and spats feel wonderfully natural. Lathan also has great chemistry with Queen Latifah, who plays her cousin, Francine, and Mos Def provides a lot of the comedic relief as “Cav” an amateur rapper that Dre wants to sign.

Hip Hop is what ties Dre and Sidney together. Sidney is writing a book about it. Dre works as a music executive at a large label and is constantly struggling to maintain his career while never compromising what he considers to be authentic hip hop. Even as he’s preparing to marry the wrong woman, he’s facing a crisis of conscience when his label signs The Hip-Hop Dalmatians, a rap duo who scream commercial success but suffer from a complete lack of talent. It’s Dre who seems to be spiraling while Sidney is growing more confident in her job and her love life. One thing I’ve always loved about this movie is that Sidney and Dre both have to make mistakes in order for them to find their way to each other. Throughout the film hip hop is a metaphor for Dre and Sidney’s feelings for each other and I love how it continues to push them together, despite the wrong turns and doubts.

Brown Sugar is a great movie to watch if you want a sense of realism in your rom-com. It has some great performances and a fantastic soundtrack. Life is messy and Brown Sugar doesn’t back down from that just because it’s a romantic comedy. I would definitely recommend it.

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."