Inkwell, The: Matty (Straight out of Brooklyn) Rich’s Sophomore Jinx

For a first film, “Straight Out of Brooklyn” was more just O.K., an honest chronicle of inner ghetto life, but Matty Rich’s amateurishness backfired when he undertook a bigger-budgeted, more ambitious film.

Changing pace and working with a larger budget at a studio film, Rich directed The Inkwell, a satire of the black bourgeoisie set in the summer of 1976.

Structurally messy and incoherent, “The Inkwell” tries to be at once a rowdy farce, political tract, and coming-of-age drama, but unsuccessful in any of the above. As Stephen Holden noted in his New York Times review, forcing these disparate ingredients together through sheer emotionalism, Rich misdirected the cast to overact with histerical intensity.

Rich and his writers caricatured black conservatives to ludicrous extremes, which some viewers liked. However, most critics felt that the ambitious project proved too much of a stretch for the director of the ultra-modest “Straight out of Brooklyn”–that, basically, he lacked the skills to tackle such subject.

“The Inkwell” proved to be Rich’s sophomore jinx.