The Brothers

“The Brothers” is a movie about sex. It deals some with relationships and the overall experience of being black in America. But it’s mostly about sex. And it has little new to say on the subject.

Similar to “The Best Man” both in style (ensemble comedy focused more on characters than plot) and subject matter (the lives of upper-middle-class African-Americans), “The Brothers” follows four successful career men in their various encounters with women.

At the center is Jack Smith (Morris Chestnut), a pediatrician with serious commitment phobias: He keeps dreaming of being shot by a woman in a wedding gown. He meets Denise (Gabrielle Union), who seems to be perfect for him, and she gets a lot of advice from his no-nonsense mother (Jenifer Lewis).

Then there’s Terry (Shemar Moore), who has just announced his engagement, much to the chagrin of marriage-hater Brian (Bill Bellamy), a lawyer who has sworn off black women and decided to date white chicks instead.

Finally, we have Derrick (D.L. Hughley), the only married man of the bunch. He’s having troubles, though, because of certain sexual practices his wife refuses to engage in.

Much of the dialogue is shockingly frank in its sexuality, and I don’t know that it’s useful. (I mean, how much discussion on oral sex do we still need? Haven’t enough other movies already talked about it?) The ensemble is good, though, and even the female half of the group — admittedly not the film’s primary focus — is enjoyable. (Jenifer Lewis, who plays Jack’s mother, has a great, sassy attitude that earns several laughs.)

The film moves slowly — as mentioned, it’s the overall lives of the characters that are the focus — and that may deter some viewers. African-Americans in particular should find it true-to-life, however, and audiences in general would be charmed by honest performances and engaging characters.

B (; R, frequent harsh profanity, some very explicit.)