Love Jones: Synopsis

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A romantic comedy about starting over again and again, love jones hilariously examines the battle of the sexes by asking whether the third time's a charm.

Struggling photographer Nina Mosley (Nia Long) and struggling writer Darius Lovehall (Larenz Tate) have a lot in common. Passionately committed to her art, Nina is fed up with her job as an office gofer for a fashion photographer, and Darius has quit his job at The Chicago New City to write a novel.

But these two aren't exactly prime candidates for a serious love affair. Darius the ladies' man is trapped by the perpetual coolness of his presentation, and silky smooth when it comes to concealing vulnerability. As for Nina, who was recently jilted by her fiancee Marvin (Khalil Kane), she doesn't believe that a relationship fits into her life right now.

They meet at the Sanctuary, a local haven where poetry is the prime draw, and a favorite night spot for Darius and his friends Savon (Isaiah Washington), Eddie (Leonard Roberts), Sheila (Bernadette Clark) and Hollywood (Bill Bellamy).

In an awkward introduction at the bar, Nina catches Darius off-guard, and uncharacteristically, he fumbles and spills his drink on her. He recovers minutes later when called to the stage to recite one of his poems. He makes the most of the moment by calling his sensuous creation "Blues for Nina."

Flattered but embarrassed, she informs him in front of his friends that there are topics for poetry other than sex. When he asks her to name one, she writes the word "love" on his hand. Everyone is impressed -- particularly Darius.

When he runs into Nina at a record shop managed by his friend Sheila (Bernadette Clarke), Darius seizes the opportunity by playing her a tender rendition of "Parker's Mood." Then, on the sly, he gets her address off a check she has written.

Later he appears at her door with a CD featuring the song she was looking for at the record store, and his charm does the rest. She agrees to go out on a date. A romantic evening of conversation and dancing leads to a passionate night at her apartment.

The next morning, Darius and Nina confide in their respective best friends Savon and Josie that, in spite of the incredible sex, "It ain't no love thing." Unfortunately, these aren't exactly the best advisors they could have found -- Josie is down on men, and Savon is having his own problems with his eight-year marriage.

But Darius is getting interested. He even reveals to Nina the sacred location of "the Batcave" (his apartment), where she uses her camera for some interesting foreplay and the romance moves forward.

Then, out of the blue, Marvin shows up asking Nina for a second chance. At Josie's suggestion, Nina uses the offer to test Darius: Will he be jealous, or coolly let her go? Darius pretends not to care, and Nina moves to New York to see if she should resume her relationship with Marvin.

Inevitably, Marvin and Nina's differences are irreconcilable and Nina returns to Chicago. She hopes to reconnect with Darius, only to learn that he has settled in with a new girlfriend, Lisa (Jaqueline Fleming). Enter Hollywood, whose friendly competition with Darius is exemplified by pursuing the same women. Sensing a prime opportunity at one-upsmanship, Wood stops by the portrait studio where Nina now works to cheer her up.

Tensions run high when Wood invites Nina to a party also attended by Darius. Feeling like a pawn in a bad game of male egos, Nina angrily leaves and Darius follows her. It's their first meeting since she went to New York. She confesses she still has feelings for him, and he assures her that Lisa means nothing to him. Swooning, they make up and head for a date at the famous Blackstone Hotel.

There, legendary Chicago DJ Herb Kent is hosting the annual "steppers'" ball, featuring the inimitable dance style popular in Chicago. On the floor, Nina and Darius become a team again. They complete the evening with a romantic walk around Buckingham Fountain.

Soon after, everything starts to fall apart. Nina finds Lisa's telephone number in his datebook, and hang-up calls start coming in to his home. The issue of trust surfaces. They split amidst hard feelings.

When Nina gets a job offer from Vibe Magazine, she decides to move back to New York. Josie, serving as a reluctant Cupid, intercedes by telling Darius of Nina's plans. He takes the cue and makes a valiant effort to talk to Nina before she leaves. Racing through Union Station, he just misses her train.

A year later, his book has been published, her career is off and running, and Nina has been sent to Chicago to shoot a Michael Jordan layout. Looking in vain for Darius at the Sanctuary, Nina takes the stage to recite a poem of her own. Startled, Darius turns and listens to her recital, which is about love remembered. "Funny what you can do in front of a room full of people," she says, "and can't do in front of one person."

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