LIFE SUPPORT (Nelson George, U.S.). 87 minutes. Saturday (May 19), 7:15 pm, Isabel Bader. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Part Oprah-style urban exposé, part faux gritty melodrama, Life Support tackles capital-I Issues - drug use, AIDS/HIV and gay men on the downlow in the African-American community - with the earnest didacticism of a Crossing Over episode.
The majestic Queen Latifah stars as Ana, an HIV-positive former crack addict who's pulled her life together and now works for an AIDS outreach group. When her eldest daughter's ailing, HIV-positive best fag friend goes AWOL (and off his meds), Ana leaps at the chance to compensate for being a bad mom by hitting the streets to find (read save) him.
Sound like a preachy after-school special? Bingo. Best known as a variety show producer and hiphop expert, writer/director Nelson George has one significant feature credit under his belt - the atrocious MotW One Special Moment - and it shows in a script peppered with Important Life Lessons. Countless scenes of Ana's support group rap sessions hammer the point through your skull. The saving grace here is Queen Latifah, who sells even her most mawkish lines with effortless naturalism.