Deliver Us from Eva

Rated 2.0 A smooth womanizer (James Todd Smith, a.k.a. LL Cool J) is hired to court a domineering woman (Gabrielle Union), the oldest of four sisters, so three pals can court the younger ones without interference. This update of The Taming of the Shrew has appealing stars in Smith and Union, but their charm is too fragile to survive the dopey script (by James Iver Mattson, B.E. Brauner and director Gary Hardwick), the amateurish performances of the low-rent supporting cast (blame those on Hardwick, too) and the cheesy cinematography of Alexander Gruszynski (with the cheap, tell-tale shine of hi-def video). In Smith and Union’s scenes together, the film becomes sweet and sexy, which makes it all the more dispiriting when it regularly backslides into crassness and boorish vulgarity. The songs on the soundtrack are another virtue.