Waist Deep

posted June 30, 2006 12:00:00 AM CDT | 12 comments

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The ladies love Tyrese when he’s in this element: an emotional yet volatile tough guy with a soft spot for kids and crisp white tank tops. If the hood had a Brad Pitt, it’s this dude right here. All that said, when Tyrese’s O2 character picks up his son in a vintage drop top, after a long day of security at a retail store, it’s all believable. However, when the son hops in and tells his pop about his day, the movie loses something. For one, the kid says he kicks this other boy’s butt. He comes off way too soft for any of that. And two, he’s got this adoration for horses that isn’t developed in the least. C’mon, Waist Deep, you gotta mesh Tyrese’s abs with dialogue that’s not so drab.

Coco (a scrumptious Meagan Good) walks by O2 (short for Oxygen, a title he got during his hustling days) at a traffic light. Coco’s selling men’s suits. Tyrese is selling a gangsta persona. Both appear to just be window shopping. Anxious L.A. drivers tell’em to keep on pushing, but one goes beyond the usual honk and actually carjacks Tyrese—with lil’ man sleeping in the backseat. Cars screech. Shoots ring out. Tyrese pursues. Store cameras capture it all. Like every other witness, Coco appears shocked by what’s just happened. Tyrese ain’t buying her clothes or her story that she has nothing to do with the jacking. He snatches her up. If nothing else, O2 needs some companionship for the long journey ahead to reclaim his son.

Director Vondie Curtis-Hall (Glitter, Gridlock’d) lets us know early on who’s taken the child— Meat, a one-eyed gang leader played to scary perfection by The Game. Tyrese’s undependable cousin, Lucky (Larenz Tate), works for Meat and tells O2 that if he wants the boy back, he’s got to hit the boss man up for $100,000. Remember: O2 is a security guard and Coco has her Men’s Warehouse thing working. Needless to say, cheese is in short supply. So they improvise.

The Bonnie and Clyde thing flops before the first caper. Nah, they gank a high-end clothes booster (Kimora Lee) sure enough, but it all happens so unbelievably. The bootleg Ocean’s 11-style heists continue at trap houses and several banks. (You’re just going to let dude into a safe-deposit box because he says he’s the owner? Really?!?) But that’s not even the kicker. That doesn’t come until Lucky informs O2 that the streets are too hot for them and they need to cool off somewhere. The two –yes, there is a decent amount of on-screen chemistry- notice a rich couple leaving their house. Not knowing if anyone else is inside or if the people are coming back, they move in! The shit is nuts.

Speaking of insane, The Game’s creepy feature film debut is dead-on. In fact, there’s a scene where Meat is roughing up a slow-paying Lucky right behind a “Stop The Violence” rally that proves to be the movie’s best moment. And that’s too bad. Tyrese seems in great shape throughout. Meagan Good is a stunner from the first frame. Unfortunately, the script itself needs a little too much work to actually work.

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