Elysa Gardner
October 18, 1991 at 04:00 AM EDT

Bell Biv Devoe: Word to the Mutha

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
guest performer
Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant
distributor
MCA Music Video
genre
Musical
We gave it a C

When last we left Bell Biv Devoe, the trio — graduates of the teenybop R&B outfit New Edition — was spewing ”Poison,” a misogynistic, if undeniably catchy, bit of sexual paranoia that was supposed to indicate that its members were coming of age. Now in their 20s, they’ve reunited with ”Edition” alumni Bobby Brown and Ralph Tresvant, staging a reunion that aims mostly for the heart but occasionally slides further down. There’s little in Bell Biv Devoe: Word to the Mutha to match the blatant sexism of ”Poison”; instead, as they cavort playfully and march triumphantly through their home turf (Boston’s Orchard Park projects), the young men engage in that more innocent display of machismo known as male bonding — with some crotch grabbing and chest thumping thrown in for good measure. The bad news is that the music itself is just as mild, alternating between tepidly sung R&B and even less potent rap sequences. This new poison is easy to swallow, but just as easy to forget. C

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