You have to be a very staunch Prince fan to enjoy his latest film. It is called "Graffiti Bridge" and it plays like 87 minutes of video. There is some plot, but it is wispy at best and frequently gets in the way of the music.
Prince both directed and wrote the script. He also did the music. JTC He may have taken too big a bite.
The plot has him share ownership of a nightclub called Glam Slam. The owners spend most of their time fighting over the management of the club. Co-owner Morris Day wants it for himself. Prince only wants peace.
The movie has heavy religious overtones. At one point, Prince is carried off the way Jesus was in "Godspell," and there is an angel who materializes then de-materializes throughout the film.
She's a beauty, a real angel, but she keeps talking about something being "just around the corner." She also encourages Prince to continue his attempts to effect a peaceful settlement with his partner.
When she isn't around, she is represented by a white feather. She is seen holding the feather early in the film, then when she disappears, it floats here and there. This is a very symbolic movie.
Members of the audience laughed at this and a few more heavy passages, and when the good guys and the bad guys squared off toward the end, one member of the audience said the film looked like "West Side Story."
Prince is called The Kid in the film, but Day uses his own name. So does Jerome Benton. Ingrid Chavez is Aura, the angel who keeps talking about happiness being just around the corner. As a catch phrase, it isn't up there with "If you build it, he will come," but it does have the potential for lasting longer than the memory of the movie.
Among the performers in the film are George Clinton, Mavis Staples and Tevin Campbell. Staples, a gospel singer, plays a nightclub manager, and Campbell, 13, plays her son.
Staples and young Campbell give the movie two of its better musical moments, and, of course, there is the star, who is worth seeing in action whenever the cameras stay with him. They don't, however, do that for long, but then that's the nature of video. Images don't linger too long in this art form. If you're not used to it, it could give you a headache.
The press release for "Graffiti Bridge" describes the movie as one that weaves "elements of fantasy and reality to tell a spiritually potent story that depicts the essence of such conflicting values. Both a musical and a rock opera, the film is at one moment pulsating with anger, and the next, is lyrically optimistic."
That's what it says.
"Graffiti Bridge" is showing at local theaters. Only Prince fans are advised to attend.
"Graffiti Bridge" * Prince is The Kid who shares ownership of a night club with Morris Day.
CAST: Prince, Morris Day, Ingrid Chavez, Jerome Benton, Mavis Staples, George Clinton, Tevin Campbell
RATING: PG-13 (nudity)
( RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes