Out-Of-Sync (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

It's a BET-produced film in which LL Cool J plays a man with a past. 

On the surface, he's just a down-and-out DJ. He has a decent little cult following, but the money he can make spinning vinyl is only a drop in the bucket of his gambling debts, so he has some psychotic bookies and loan sharks on his tail constantly. But I said he had a past, and that's just his present.

Seems like he was quite the up-and-coming club entrepreneur and mobster about a decade earlier when he ended up taking a fall for his mob boss, Simon. Simon somehow managed to wrangle a plea-bargain which ratted out ol' LL and sent him to The Big House. LL is only beginning to learn the extent of Simon's duplicity, as details from the past are starting to be revealed by other circumstances. For now, however, LL is forced by his financial circumstances to seek DJ work from Simon, who is still a major club owner. At this point, LL still has his gambling problems, but is free from the crime scene, and has beaten the alcoholism that once haunted him.

Circumstances change. The police bring LL into the station for an attitude adjustment session, in which the detective reveals the details of the earlier deal with Simon, and reveals that Simon is now his real target, thereby asking LL to reverse the earlier circumstances and rat Simon out. Because of various forms of coercion, LL agrees.

Another sub-plot interferes with this neat little package. LL falls for Simon's girlfriend, and it turns out that she hates Simon and has a master plan to rip him off for a giant suitcase full of drug money. LL is brought into this plan, but proves to be a patsy, since the girlfriend ends up disappearing with 100% of the money, although not before tipping Simon that our man LL was the one responsible.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that the cop is actually crooked, and was also planning to use LL to rip off the very same suitcase full of money from Simon. 

 As you can guess, LL is really in hot water:
  1. Simon wants to kill him, because of the rip-off.

  2. The crooked cop wants to kill him, because LL unknowingly double-crossed him as well. 

  3. The loan sharks still want to kill him, because he never did get any of the money, and is still broke.


Victoria Dillard shows her breasts clearly in a shower sequence. She also flashes in a sex scene, although her nipples were covered by money.

Renato Powell appears in the film only as a bare-breasted corpse (although it appears that she might have been more important in an earlier version of the script)

If you've been reading all of this until now, you probably realize that they had a lot more plot here than they needed. For example, the entire sub-plot about the loan sharks could easily have been written out to allow the writer to develop the rest of the plot and characters a bit more. Despite the fact that there is so much going on, the script moves pretty slowly until the last fifteen minutes, and everything is formulaic. Forwarding the predictable plots seems to have taken priority over characterization, music, or humor, and the whole movie is pretty lifeless.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen 

  • no features

  • quite a dark transfer

The film isn't really good enough to praise or bad enough to pan. I don't think you'll hate it if you catch it on late night cable, but you'll probably feel like you've seen it all before, and I doubt if you want to rent or own it. There are some interesting small details to note:

  • The part of the crooked cop was played by Dr Johnny Fever, and the small part of the good cop who ultimately triumphs is played by Venus Flytrap, another WKRP disc jockey. (Venus, aka Tim Reid, also produced the movie)

  • The film was directed by Debbie Allen. Remember her in Fame? This is the only theatrical movie she's directed, but she's done plenty of TV work.

  • LL Cool J doesn't sing or rap, although the script could easily have allowed for it. He does talk along with a few of the discs that he spins, and this certainly could have been expanded, especially to justify his "cult following", which is mentioned in the script, but is inexplicable from what we can see.

"Baby, if you've ever wondered

wondered what ever became of me ....."

A scene from the movie, or just a really intense episode of WKRP in Cincinnati?


The Critics Vote

  • No major reviews.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.9, but based on only 14 votes. The correct range is probably somewhere near 5.5. (5 of the 14 votes were 10/10, which is apparently some kind of ballot stuffing. Excluding those, the average is 5.2)
  • With their dollars ... the film is virtually unknown. It was made for a million dollars, and grossed only nine thousand dollars before moving to the video market.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics - or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. It is watchable.

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