The Seat Filler
Derrick is a recently-graduated law student studying for
the California bar
exam. Jhnelle (Kelly Rowland) is a young singing sensation with a song
climbing the charts. The pair’s paths cross when Derrick takes a job as a
seat filler at an award show where Jhnelle is up for a music video award.
His job is simply to occupy a spot temporarily empty so that the
never appears to be empty to TV viewers. By chance, Derrick gets to sit next
to Jhnelle, and proceeds to strike up as conversation, despite his strict
instructions not to fraternize with the stars. Mistaking him for a powerful
media magnate, Jhnelle flirts shamelessly, while Derrick does nothing to
correct the case of mistaken identity.
Thus begins The Seat Filler, a thoroughly predictable romantic comedy
unfolds like a silly TV sitcom. Duane Martin does a decent job in the title
role opposite Destiny Child’s Kelly Rowland who is not exactly challenged
here, typecast as a pop icon.
My problem with this picture has to do with its repeatedly intolerant
dialogue which ranges from homophobic to misogynistic to racist. For
example, the script is riddled with gay panic jokes all revolving around an
effeminate character who is openly gay. Blacks fare no better, such as when
one character claims, “I’m light-skinned, I don’t have to put up with this.”
And an African law professor is presented as primitive when he says, “There
are students who would eat a monkey brain just to be in my class.”
Females take it on the chin with the description of one as “a
snaggle-toothed crack-head with four baby-daddies.” Worse, it is suggested
to the protagonist that dating a prostitute would be a step up for him.
Sorry, no redeeming qualities.
Poor (0 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sexual dialogue and a drug reference.
Running time: 90 minutes
Distributor: Magnolia Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, an all-access featurette and an extended
performance of “Follow Your Destiny” by Kelly Rowland.