STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: 98 Minutes
• Behind-the-scenes featurette
• Making Choices featurette
• The Mommy Posse featurette
• Deleted scenes

The Pitch

Sperm can only make the kid, you need to go to the source to raise him.

The Humans

Vanessa Williams, Keith Daniels, Eartha Kitt, Michael Boatman, Jeremy Gumbs.

"Okay Vanessa, the way I figure it, we got somewhere between seven and nine years till I get to the age where you probably won’t have to do any jail time for sleeping with me.,,"

The Nutshell

Uptight, career-driven, single mother, Julie (Williams, the one with the singin’ career), is struggling to raise her six-year-old son, Jake, while trying to convince everyone that she doesn’t need a man (even though she has a boyfriend), and Jake doesn’t need a father figure. Julie went to a sperm clinic to conceive Jake and although she thinks she’s doing a good job raising him, her mother’s (Kitt) endless protestations that Julie needs a husband, Jake’s behavioral issues and a therapist’s advice get her thinking that maybe something’s wrong with Jake’s sperm donor father’s side of the family, because it certainly can’t be hers. When Julie tracks down the donor, he turns out to be Paul (Daniels), a good-looking, but down-on-his-luck and struggling actor. Julie doesn’t tell Paul his connection to her and Jake, but after he starts subtly insinuating himself into their lives, especially by bonding with Jake, Julie finds herself caught between her building attraction to him, her nebulous relationship with her boyfriend (Boatman) who just proposed, and doing what’s best for Jake…and herself.

Diva, Werewolf Girl, Eileen and all you female Chewers: don’t say I never gave you nothin’.
In which Eileen responds "already had so the gals can have my leftovers."

The Lowdown

I’ve always liked Vanessa Williams, both on the screen and in music, and she’s had quite a varied career over the last twenty plus years. Some of the choices she’s made, however, have been a bit puzzling to me at times. For every good turn on Broadway or in films like Soul Food, Shaft, Eraser, or Stompin’ at the Savoy, there are curious roles in Star Trek: DS9, Johnson Family Vacation, or Futuresport. Right now she’s riding high on Ugly Betty, which I hear is doing pretty well, but seeing as I have some self esteem as a male, I haven’t quite caught an episode of that yet. In And Then Came Love, Williams has found a nice little project that is one of the better-made indie Black movies I’ve seen in a while. As Mr. Micah Robinson has espoused on several occasions, there’s a glut in independent black filmmaking of just low grade, trashy, gangsta ballin’ and shoot ‘em up kind of unwatchable garbage that is far overshadowing some of the good work being done for and by that demographic. I should know, I’ve worked on a few of them.

Love has the somewhat unique premise of a career-driven woman falling for her sperm-donor babydaddy years after making a withdrawal from the bank and popping out the kid. Williams is well-suited for this type of role, as she displayed in Soul Food. As Julie, she’s a mess of Type-A personality, job-obsessed, love-starved modern black woman who, even though she thinks she has a good thing going with her job, her son and her boyfriend, is refusing to realize that she’s only lying to herself. When she tracks down Paul, she starts to see that everything that she thought was right in her life isn’t, and some of the choices she goes with only make things worse. First of all, she doesn’t tell Paul that her little boy that Paul is quickly bonding with is his son and she also drags out a relationship with her current boyfriend when deep down she knows it’s not what she wants.

"What’s this I hear about you making a seven-to-nine year plan?"

Also doing good work in Love is Daniels, whose mostly done guest shots on TV such as Buffy, JAG, Frasier and (God help us) Baby Bob, as well as small parts in Ladder 49 and The Island. Daniels is an NBA-worthy 6’5” and built like a brick shithouse, but as Paul, he has an easygoing, friendly demeanor as an actor who gets his life together after meeting Julie and her son and also getting his career back on track. He and Williams have a nice chemistry and Love does their characters justice by not having them fall into each other’s arms in melodramatic fashion. Their relationship is complicated and given the room it needs to breathe and develop in a realistic manner. Turns by other cast members such as Kitt, who is easily prone to campiness, are straight on as well. The direction and writing are also serviceable.

And Then Came Love is a good example of what independent Black filmmaking can and should be, and the funny thing is that none of the characters even depend on being black. You toss Kate Hudson and Mr. Flavor-of-the-Minute in the main roles, add a bigger budget, and this could easily have been a theatrical release. This film is part of the American Black Film Festival DVD series, but it’s not about the Black experience at all, it’s just about making a watchable movie, which anybody and everybody wants, regardless of race. And Then Came Love succeeds in delivering that.

"Look Oliver, for the last time, I didn’t save myself for you, you’re not the best, but this call will definitely be the last

"No I don’t want to see your right stuff…"

The Package

There’s a decent amount of features on this disc, mostly behind-the-scenes and talking head pieces with cast and producers. These comprise the three featurettes: Behind-The-Scenes, Making Choices and The Mommy Posse. There’s also about nine minutes of deleted scenes.

6.7 out of 10