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Film / Jungle Fever

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She's got jungle fever, I've got jungle fever,
We've got jungle fever, we're in love;
I've gone white-girl crazy, she's gone black-boy hazy,
We're each other's baby, we're in love.

Jungle Fever is a 1991 film directed by Spike Lee. It follows three intertwining plotlines. In the first, architect Flipper Purify (Wesley Snipes) leaves his wife Drew (Lonette McKee) and takes up an affair with his firm's temp secretary Angie Tucci (Annabella Sciorra). In the second, Flipper and his parents (Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee) struggle with the spiraling drug addiction of their elder son Gator (Samuel L. Jackson in a performance that won him a special supporting actor award at Cannes). In the third, Angie's former boyfriend Paulie Carbone (John Turturro) tries to free himself from the control of his autocratic father (Anthony Quinn) and racist friends.



  • Actor Allusion: The crackhouse is similar to the one in New Jack City, which also starred Wesley Snipes.
  • Big "NO!": Flipper at the end, while holding the prostitute he bumped into on the street.
  • But Not Too Black: For Drew, Flipper's taking up with a white woman is worse than it might be because she's light-skinned herself and now questions how much of a factor that was in their marriage.
  • The Cameo:
  • Defenestrate and Berate: Drew's reaction when she finds out about Flipper and Angie.
  • Foil: Paulie and Orin, a potential interracial couple, drawn to each other by mutual genuine respect and affection rather than Race Fetish.
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  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: The relationship between Flipper and Angie is condemned by Flipper's father, along with his friends, while her father beats her after finding out about it then throws her out of his house. At least in Flipper's case though it's partly due to it being adultery.
  • Mixed Ancestry is Attractive: Played With. Drew is half-black and half-white. She gets concerned that her black husband's initial attraction to her was because she is lighter-skinned, because he cheats on her with a white coworker.
  • The '90s: Like most of the defining decade's films during the time. Denise, one of Angie's friends, even lampshades it when the latter tells her friends she's going out with a black male.
    Denise: This is the '90s. There's nothing wrong with that.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Good Reverend Doctor Purify shoots Gator to death out of despair for his crack habit.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Gator being killed by his father was inspired by the death of Marvin Gaye.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Flipper ends up realizing that he can't have the life he wanted with Angie, that the prejudice they & any future kids they would have is too much to deal with. The movie ends with him being back with his wife and taking his daughter to school, pretty much exactly where he was at the start of the film.
  • Skyward Scream: The ending.
  • Where da White Women At?: Played straight, subverted, deconstructed, everything. For Flipper having an affair at all seems partly in frustration at his not being promoted at work. Angie is available, he admits to being curious about white, and says that she was curious about black. She is in part getting back at her arrogant father and brothers, although unfortunately she's still living with them.