Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Players Club

Go To

The Players Club is a 1998 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Ice Cube, and stars LisaRaye McCoy, Bernie Mac, Jamie Foxx, Monica Calhoun, and Cube himself.

The plot is about a woman named Diana Armstrong who starts working as a dancer in a rough strip club and tries to overcome the difficulties of this new life while finishing her education.

Not to be confused with the short-lived 2011 NBC series The Playboy Club.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: John Amos plays Officer Freeman. L'il man, one guy he arrests, asks him, "You have anybody ever told you you look just like the father from Good Times?"
  • And This Is for...: Diana to Ronnie at the end of their fight:
    Diana: That's for Ebony! (punch) That's for me! (kick)
  • Asshole Victim: Dollar Bill. After Ronnie, Trix and Junior get carried away by the police, St. Louis and his goons invade the club, blow it up and kidnap Bill, presumably to kill him. They may be mobsters, but we're clearly not supposed to feel sorry for Dollar Bill.
  • Attempted Rape: Ronnie, who attempted to rape Diana when they were alone in the changing room at one point. We're shown later that this is a second attempt after Ronnie's successful rape attempt when Diana was passed out drunk at a private show.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: St. Louis, though it isn't drugs he wants payment for from Dollar Bill.
  • Because I Said So: The justification Diana's mom uses when she demands that Diana stop Ebony from working at the Player's Club
  • Berserker Tears: Diana sheds some of these when she chases her cheating boyfriend Lance out of the apartment with a Hand Cannon.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Diana, full stop. Do not cheat on her. Do not abandon her cousin to your rapist little brother. It will end badly.
  • Book Ends: The story opens with Diana working in a shoe store and two customers who are strippers (Ronnie and Tricks) convince her to become a stripper. At the end, Ebony is working in the same store and two stripper girls visit, but she wisely confronts them about the worth of the stripping profession while Diana is watching proudly.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: This lead into the argument and estrangement with Diana's father that lead her to become a stripper in the first place.
  • Cassandra Truth: Diana's warnings to Ebony to at least slow down with her immersion into the stripper lifestyle go completely unheeded until it's too late.
  • Coming of Age Story: Diana's.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Apparently, all of the employees and patrons of The Player's Club managed to exit the building after St. Louis shot up the place and Brooklyn firebombed it only moments later.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Diana and Ronnie's fight was entirely one-sided. And satisfying.
  • Date Rape Averted: Subverted. The guests at Junior's bachelor party hear Junior beating and raping Ebony on the other side of the door, and instead of breaking down the door or calling for help, leave her alone with Junior.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Dollar Bill's speech about "bootiful black women". You could see their public hairs.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Ronnie, although we never see her sexually interact with any men that weren't part of the job, so she could very well be a Psycho Lesbian.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Ebony throws Diamond's past rape at the hands of Ronnie back in her face by implying that she was a slut and a hypocrite for trying to call her out for her behavior. This ends up being disturbing on multiple levels in addition to the act itself because this was Ronnie telling her narrative to Ebony (who took it as a fact), she herself ended up raped later on in the film by Ronnie's brother, and that Diamond was assaulted while so intoxicated that she was rendered unconscious and for money.
  • Evil Debt Collector: St. Louis sends one with a shotgun to Dollar Bill.
  • False Friend: Ronnie with Diana, and especially Ebony.
  • Female Groin Invincibility: During Diana and Ronnie's epic fight, the former kicks the latter in the groin area, only for her to no sell it and bark back "Ain't no balls there, bitch!" She then shrieks back "Coulda fooled me!" and resumes the fight.
  • Forehead of Doom: Downplayed by Tricks, who at one point upon passing by Diana insults her by calling her a "bigheaded ho".
  • Get Out!: Two examples, both in the climax.
    • After finding out about Ebony's rape and Ronnie just leaving her there after finding out that Junior did it. Diana, accompanied by Blue, charges right back into the Players Club and into the stripper's room, demanding everyone but Ronnie leave. No one takes her seriously at first...until she pulls out a gun and fires a warning shot. That proves to be more convincing encouragement.
    • After the fight and the arresting of Ronnie, Trix and Junior. St. Louis, the gangster whom Dollar Bill owns money to, finally arrives to make good on his threat for missed payments. He's wheeled into the club carrying an uzi and warns the patrons if they don't want to get murdered then "Get the fuck out!". Thankfully the patrons heeded his words as there's no casualties seen after the shoot-up.
  • Good Parents: Diana, who loves her son dearly and is able to mostly shield him from her line of work.
  • Karma Houdini: Reggie and Clyde, but especially Reggie for goading Junior into thinking Ebony was an easy lay and abandoning her to get raped by Junior.
    • Also applies to Ronnie, as the epilogue makes no mention of jail time for being an accessory to Ebony's rape or obstruction of justice.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Strippers in the Player's Club in general, but especially Tricks, who we never hear being called anything else.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with Diana standing in front of the wreckage of The Players Club.
  • Money Slap: When Diana is getting fitted for her graduation cap and gown, some other students begin to gossip about her over her profession which culminates in a random student derisively bringing this up and mockingly tossing dollar bills into her face, which causes her to storm off.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several:
    • Diana when she sees her journalism professor enter the strip club while she's doing a lap dance. Turns out he's okay with her job as long as she makes a real effort to study.
    • Later when she goes home and Myrin confesses to stalking her.
    • Dollar Bill when he learns about St. Loius visiting.
    • Ebony has a major one when she realizes she's the only girl at Junior's bachelor party.
  • Papa Wolf: We find out that Diana's father is one. After Lance cheats on Diana, her father threatens Blue by saying that anything he does with his daughter on their date that displeases him, he would do to Blue.
    • The above threat is said while the two are at a shooting yard and the father shoots the target first in the head, then in the groin.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Assume the fuckin' position!"
  • Punch-Clock Villain: XL, possibly. When Blue told him to leave while Diana was beating the shit out of Ronnie in the changing room, he didn't hesitate.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dropped on Ebony by Diana after she catches Ebony sleeping with Lance in her bed.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Diana has had exactly enough of your shit, Ronnie. Letting Ebony get raped by Junior and abandoning her in the hotel room was the last of many straws.
  • Scary Black Man: St. Louis, his hitman and Brooklyn. Then there's K. C., who tries very hard to be this, but fails.
  • Stalker with a Crush Myrin. This gets no resolution whatsoever, after being set up relatively early in the film.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Diana has a son, and Trix was said to have six kids.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Dollar Bill, of course. He thinks of himself as a successful businessman and purveyor of the world of exotic dancing, but in reality he's just a dimwitted and greedy deadbeat who owns a sleazy, crime-ridden strip joint and is hardly respected by anyone.
    I'm Dollar Bill! Chi-Town!
  • Teen Pregnancy: The film starts out with teenaged Diana pregnant with her son and arguing with her father about where she's going to college.
  • Theme Tune Rap: "We Be Clubbin" by, of course, Ice Cube.
  • Those Two Guys: Reggie and Clyde. They could also be considered the Evil Duo, seeing as they work for Saint Louis and left Ebony to get raped by Junior.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Dollar. Bill. If he would have just paid Saint Louis he might still have his club and, possibly, his life.
    • Also applies to Ebony to a certain extent, though while she doesn't die, she does end up raped and beaten by the brother of the woman who freely admitted to raping her sleeping cousin for money.
  • Trash the Set: How the club gets destroyed. St. Louis shoots up the place with a usiz, and, after capturing Dollar Bill, Brooklyn blows it up with a rocket launcher.
  • Uncertain Doom: The last seen of Dollar Bill is being captured by St. Louis's men, shoved into the trunk of his limo and being driven off after Brooklyn demolishes the club with a rocket launcher. Diana states in the epilogue no one seen him since.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Junior can be heard sobbing while telling Ronnie that they have to call their mother from the back of a squad car after he's been arrested for Ebony's rape.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Invoked by Ronnie with Diana during an Attempted Rape of all things. It doesn't take.
  • Where Are They Now: A year after the events, Diana gives an account on every character. Except for Dollar Bill. He was stated as never being heard from again.