The career of Eddie Murphy has been a strange one, with his immediate rise to fame in the early 80s exploding onto the scene with SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE to 48 HRS, TRADING PLACES and BEVERLY HILLS COP. The 1992 movie BOOMERANG was released after a string of critical and commercial duds and was also going to be considered a disappointment. While this movie did get mixed reviews on its release, the picture did do really well in theatres and did find a good life on home video and built a fanbase.
Here, Eddie’s Marcus Graham is a successful ad executive at the Lady Eloise cosmetics comedy, but also a compulsive womanizer at the same time. A lot of women come in and out of the picture, especially at his work and play, and it’s quickly evident in an early scene where he picks up a woman pretending to have a lost dog. Then a female exec (Robin Givens) comes into the picture as another executive at his company, and she plays the same game on Marcus. And then there’s also another woman in the same firm (Halle Berry) who doesn’t realize it at first but is a much better match for Marcus.
BOOMERANG features a terrific cast, all of which have their own comedic charm. Murphy plays really well against Robin Givens as his competition, but Halle Berry is wonderful here in a breakout performance. There’s also great support here by Martin Lawrence as David Allen Grier as Marcus’ best friends but also Eartha Kitt as Lady Eloise and Grace Jones as one of the advertising models. Even Eddie’s neighbor, played by Tisha Campbell, has her own three dimensions (and then she went along with Lawrence to create MARTIN, one of my favourite sitcoms of the 90s). And one of my favourites, John Witherspoon, has a priceless sequence in a dinner scene.
Many have commented on the lack of inclusivity in movies these days, and yet here we have a movie in the early 90s with an entirely black cast and filmmakers and ABOUT black people and their lives. Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin was already on the scene after the wonderful HOUSE PARTY a few years before, and he knows his stuff with studio movies. Shot in New York over a cold winter it has such a noticeable and lived-in look throughout which adds to the style.
For Eddie Murphy, this was a solid return to form for the actor and I loved his confidence here. It did slip again after this but years later he returned to form in DREAMGIRLS and then my favourite movie of 2019, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME. Eddie has always had it even in his ups and downs, and BOOMERANG is really one of his finest works.
About the Blu Ray:
Believe it or not, it’s already the 30th anniversary of BOOMERANG and Paramount has re-released this great movie on Blu Ray after never being on the format before. Until recently BOOMERANG has been streaming on Amazon Prime, where I saw it for the first time last year. The transfer is in the 1.78:1 format, telling me that this master appears to be an older HD transfer that was the same one used for streaming, which is immediately noticeable with the soft-focus Paramount logo with lots of film dirt and artifacts. There is quite a bit of noticeable softness and film grain along with heavy dirt, especially in shots that have transition fades in them. Even with this, it does have a lived-in, New York fall film look to it, so there is a lot of visual strengths in the picture. The DTS Master Audio is pretty plain with surround effects mostly for the music and some front soundstage for foley effects and is pretty much standard for a romantic comedy. So the A/V here is serviceable but I really wish Paramount would have done a 4k HDR restoration in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
There are two bonus features here, the first being a decent commentary track by Hudlin along with some deleted and extended scenes that also have a separate Hudlin track. The movie also comes with an Apple TV Digital Copy which redeems to HD on the Apple Store and is the same transfer as usual. I am hoping that a 4k transfer comes down the pipeline and if so, it will update on the store. Overall I am glad that this Blu Ray release exists and it’s still a movie that is finding an audience as the years go by.
BOOMERANG is now available on Blu Ray. Our thanks to Paramount PR for sending along a copy for review.