Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha: A Messy Melvin Van Peebles Production

Seventysomething Melvin Van Peebles plays the lead role from age 15 to 45 in this homely home-video-art love story. He's opposite actors who are, in every case, younger, making the scenes of teenaged sexual discovery particularly eyebrow-raising. Like practically everything in the movie, the device really "works" only on a theoretical level, though it's transfixing for a time in a strange and slightly sad way. Van Peebles' unnamed protagonist narrates back on his life from middle age, talking over reenactments of his escape from Chicago for a courtier gig in royal Africa. There's little concession to period detail in the street scenes, the art direction feels like an eighth-grade production, and any scene in which actors get to interact is deathly awkward. A hundred minutes should never feel this long.

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