A zero-budget thriller whose ambitions far outstrip its means, “Black Beans and Rice” looks like a storyboarded outline for a film with scenes barely blocked out and only rudimentarily run through by actors. Script similarly has hardly evolved from treatment stage. Paired-off characters talk some and copulate some, with gun-pointing and artfully draped corpses substituting for action. Uneven thesping, hollow-sounding undernourished track, and gross disproportion between what is visibly taking place on-screen versus what’s supposedly happening off-screen makes for disappointing brew, though sex scenes play well. Distrib outlook’s dim.
White female reporter gets involved with black small-time drug dealer to uncover the truth about a gang war. Her best girlfriend, a racist cop with fantasies about making it with a black man, is trying to solve the case, both girls also screwing a white art gallery owner on the side. Drug dealer, who occupies film’s center, constellates remaining dramatis personae around him — a beautiful black girlfriend, a paralyzed stepfather, and black-and-white memories of an unfeeling, murdered mother.