I wish there were more derivatives like this; it recasts Shakespeare in African-American culture. Unlike O, which, as far as I remember, involves African-American culture by way of contrast to white American culture, Deliver Us From Eva is a derivative of The Taming of the Shrew that sets itself entirely in Black culture in America—or, rather, what passes in Hollywood as Black culture, which isn't quite the same thing.
I also wish this film were better. Even though it has L. L. Cool J, it falls flat. I think part of it is the overall interpretation of the story arc. The younger sisters need to get Eva (our Katherine analogue) out of the way so that they can enjoy their own relationships; the men in those relationships hire Ray to get her to fall in love with him, move away with him, and then be dumped by him in some faraway location. And the idea they all have in mind is that Eva is shrewish because (not to put too fine a point on it) she hasn't had a man sexually. Once she does, the shrewishness will be all gone. I feel that this is not a fair reading of Katherine or of women, and the film suffers as a result.
I've chosen three representative clips to give you a feel for the film. Please note that the material in them, even though I have done some editing to remove more objectionable content, may not be acceptable to all audiences.
Clip One: The men try to persuade Ray to date Eva.
Clip Two: Ray sees Eva's shrewishness at work in her job as health inspector.
Clip Three: Ray asks Eva on a date.
I'd genuinely like to know your thoughts—and I'm particularly interested in an African-American perspective on this film. Does this reflect or undermine Black culture in America? Does the derivative work? What other Shakespeare plays should find African-American derivative versions? Please add your thoughts to the comments below!
Links: The Film at IMDB.