On this day in comedy on April 8, 1998 The Players Club was released by New Line Cinema.
Ice Cube made his directorial debut in this comedy starring LisaRaye, Bernie Mac, Faizon Love, Jamie Foxx, Terrance Howard, Charlie Murphy, Alex Thomas, A. J. Johnson, Dick Anthony Williams, Monica Calhoun, Tiny Lister, Adele Givens, Michael Clarke Duncan and John Amos.
The story is centered on LisaRaye, who narrates. She tells how as a young, single-mother-to-be she had a put-your-foot down argument with her father and moved out of the house. She subsequently got a job as a shoe store employee barely making ends meets. Then she meets up with a couple of girls who set her straight. Why be that sexy and not get paid for it? She needs to be stripping.
LisaRaye reluctantly gets into the stripping game, working at the Players Club and pulling in undeclared cash. It’s all good until her younger cousin gets a job stripping. This relative is soon doing more than stripping. She’s getting drunk and doing private parties. LisaRaye knows how wild those private parties can be from personal experience and tries to warn her cousin, who doesn’t want to hear it. She’s going where the money is. All the while the club owner, (Bernie Mac) has his own problems. He owes $60,000 to a gangster and his time is up. He’s beat up and thrown into the trunk of his car. If two crooked cops hadn’t shown up and arrested him that would’ve been it. Once Mac is out of jail retribution takes place on both sides.
During all the club drama, LisaRaye seeks some normalcy by dating the DJ. She discovers that her cousin has been tricked into doing a private party thinking there would be other strippers there. It turns out she is the only stripper and she ends up beaten and raped by the guest of honor who was told she was “that” kind of girl. LisaRaye and the DJ (Jamie Foxx) go to see her and then proceed to the club where Foxx holds a gun on the two strippers who got LisaRaye’s cousin ambushed while LisaRaye fights one of them furiously. After beating her down and quitting, LisaRaye knocks the other in the jaw as she and Foxx exit. Their timing is perfect, because just then the gangster and his henchmen shoot up the club and destroy it.
The epilog is that the cousin gets a job at the shoe store then moves back home to live with her mother. LisaRaye and Foxx are a happy couple (He’s a top DJ on the radio station and she’s a reporter). Bernie Mac was killed by the gangsters. The two strippers that got beat down go work at a new strip club and Bernie’s henchmen go to Freaknik.
On a budget of $5 million, The Players Club grossed $23,047,939 domestically and $213,546 internationally for a worldwide box office take of $23,261,485.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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