The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion
Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”
This review contains spoilers. Reveal it.
I was never a big fan of the Fresh Prince TV series -- its humor was too broad, its moral lessons too obvious, call me a snob all you want -- but I watched this anyway after I heard about the segment where Will Smith sits down with Janet Hubert, the original Aunt Viv, after 27 years. I knew the story that he got her fired from the series after a personality conflict and she rarely worked again, but this film gave her time to explain it from her side: She was struggling with personal problems at the time and kept to herself when cameras weren't rolling, and for this sin, he pushed her out and labeled her "difficult" in the press, which as a Black actress was career poison, at the exact moment when her family abandoned her and she was alone and penniless in the world with a baby. Everybody loves Will Smith the nice-guy superstar, but here is someone whose life he ruined, confronting him and making him grapple with real criticism to his face. That segment of the documentary was totally worth seeing. The rest of the film, some warm-and-fuzzy-feeling memories of big moments from the show and a tribute to the late James Avery? Meh, I could take it or leave it. Seemingly a third of the documentary is devoted to how sad the cast felt to wrap filming on the final episode, to which I say, enough already on that subject. On the bright side, the show did a lot of good in the world for a mere sitcom, and I was glad to see the documentary highlight some of its effects.This review contains spoilers. Reveal it.
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