Back on the Strip Review: A Bumpy Ride Through Comedy and Charm

Back on the Strip

“Back on the Strip” is an indie comedy that embraces its slapdash nature, leaning heavily on the charisma of its actors to keep the audience engaged. The film may have a thin plot, but it knows its mission: to entertain and make us laugh unabashedly.

While it falls short in some areas, the star-studded cast, led by Wesley Snipes, J.B. Smoove, Bill Bellamy, and Faizon Love, delivers performances that lift this comedy beyond its shortcomings.

The Chocolate Chips: Stars of Yesteryears

In the ’90s, Las Vegas was home to a group of exuberant strippers known as The Chocolate Chips. Wesley Snipes, playing the role of Luther, aka “Mr. Big,” stands out as the group’s charismatic leader. His career was tragically cut short by a car accident that left his leg shattered. J.B. Smoove, Bill Bellamy, and Faizon Love round out the ensemble, each bringing their unique brand of humor to the film.

Gary Owen adds an extra layer of comedy, portraying Xander, a white doctor who once successfully masqueraded as a member of The Chocolate Chips. Together, these actors create a hilarious camaraderie that infuses the movie with infectious energy.

A Misguided Focus

Despite the star power of the Chocolate Chips, “Back on the Strip” primarily centers around young Merlin, portrayed by Spence Moore II. His dreams of becoming a magician and winning the heart of his best friend and magic assistant, Robin (Raigan Harris), drive the narrative.

Unfortunately, the film’s focus on Merlin’s romantic aspirations overshadows the comedic potential of the aging strippers. It’s a classic case of sidelining the very elements that make the movie intriguing.

A Familiar Love Story

Merlin’s storyline follows a predictable trajectory, with the audience well aware of the eventual outcome. This familiarity turns “Back on the Strip” into a modern version of old Hollywood studio films that revolved around veteran comedians while relegating the romantic leads to bland, almost forgettable characters.

The film struggles to give Merlin and Robin distinct personalities, and Merlin’s supposed brilliance as an illusionist doesn’t translate convincingly onscreen.

The Rise of the Chocolate Chips

The film truly shines when it shifts its focus back to the Chocolate Chips. As they reunite, rehearse, and rediscover their bonds, the movie hits its comedic stride. Each character is given a dedicated subplot and recurring comic moments, showcasing the strength of the ensemble cast.

J.B. Smoove’s Amos, in particular, stands out as a former preacher who can’t resist a sultry dance, while Bill Bellamy’s Tyriq struggles to reconcile his fatherhood identity with his new stripping gig. Gary Owen’s portrayal of Xander’s identity crisis, which challenges racial stereotypes, adds an extra layer of hilarity.

A Mixed Bag of Comedy

“Back on the Strip” finds itself somewhere between a mid-level “Saturday Night Live” cash-in movie and a ’90s indie comedy. It’s an amalgamation of excellent comic setpieces, amusing moments, and glimpses of the actors’ hidden talents.

Faizon Love’s performance, in particular, hints at his potential as a romantic lead with the right script. While the film may not consistently hit the mark, it’s worth watching for the hardworking cast.

Wesley Snipes: A True Showstopper

Wesley Snipes continues his career resurgence with a standout performance in “Back on the Strip.” Despite his character’s physical limitations, Snipes exudes suave confidence and charisma.

His mere presence elevates every scene he’s in, making him the glue that holds the film together. Snipes’ portrayal of Mr. Big is a masterclass in acting, breathing life into a character with depth and experience.

A Final Trick

“Back on the Strip” may stumble in its attempt to balance various storylines, but it ultimately succeeds in delivering laughs, thanks to its stellar cast. While the Chocolate Chips steal the show whenever they grace the screen, the film’s unwavering focus on Merlin’s love life may leave some viewers craving more from the ensemble.

However, Wesley Snipes’ captivating performance as Mr. Big proves that sometimes, a single actor can perform the best magic trick of all—transforming a flawed film into an entertaining ride filled with charm and humor. So, if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted comedy with a fantastic cast, “Back on the Strip” might just be your ticket to a good time at the movies.

Scroll to Top