Why Do Fools Fall in Love (film)

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Why Do Fools Fall in Love
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gregory Nava
Screenplay by Tina Andrews
Produced byPaul Hall
Stephen Nemeth
Cinematography Edward Lachman
Edited byNancy Richardson
Music by Stephen James Taylor
Rhino Films
Warner Bros.
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • August 28, 1998 (1998-08-28)(United States)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$12,461,773 [1]

Why Do Fools Fall in Love is a 1998 American romantic drama film directed by Gregory Nava. Released by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film is a biographical film of R&B/Rock and roll singer Frankie Lymon, lead singer of the pioneering rock and roll group Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers for one year. Moreover, the film highlights the three women in his life, each of whom claim to have married Lymon and lay claim to his estate.


Written by Tina Andrews, Why Do Fools Fall in Love stars Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Lela Rochon, and Larenz Tate, who portrays Lymon. Little Richard also appears in the film as himself. [2]

One of the single from the soundtrack "I Want You Back" by Melanie Brown featuring Missy Elliott peaked at number-one in the UK Singles Chart. [3]


Lymon was 13 years old when the teenage group Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers erupted from radios and jukeboxes with their 1956 hit "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" and appeared in the movie Rock, Rock, Rock (1956).

After Mr. Rock and Roll (1957), Lymon started a solo singing career, but it all fell apart. Lymon's career was over by the time he was 18 years old, and he died of a heroin overdose seven years later.

Jumping from the 1950s to the 1960s, the film traces the rise and fall of Lymon (Larenz Tate) in a series of flashbacks as courtroom claims on Lymon's royalties are outlined by three women: Zola Taylor (Halle Berry) of the R&B group The Platters; Elizabeth Waters (Vivica A. Fox), a petty thief from Philadelphia; and schoolteacher Emira Eagle (Lela Rochon). Ending credits show the real Frankie Lymon singing his song "Goody Goody."

Little Richard also makes a courtroom appearance, while Miguel A. Nunez Jr. portrays Little Richard in scenes set in the 1950s.

The film ends with Emira winning Frankie's estate, although Elizabeth was named the legal surviving spouse of Frankie Lymon.



The screenplay of the film, written by actress-turned-screenwriter Tina Andrews, took fifteen years to be produced. Director Gregory Nava used most of the technical staff from his prior film Selena. [4]

Filming locations

Filming locations include: Jacksonville, Florida; Los Angeles, California; and Starke, Florida.


The film was first presented at the Urbanworld Film Festival, New York on August 8, 1998.

The film opened in wide release on August 28, 1998 (1,369 theaters) and sales the opening weekend were $3,946,382. Why Do Fools Fall in Love ran for 8 weeks domestically (56 days) and eventually grossed $12,506,676 in the United States. At its widest release the film was shown in 1,377 screens. [5]


Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 53% based on 57 reviews, with an average rating of 5.91/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "This is a fun comedy with delightful musical numbers." [6] Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times , was disappointed in the screenplay and ultimately Nava's direction of the film, and wrote, "There are several angles this material might have been approached from, and director Gregory Nava tries several without hitting on one that works. By the end of the film, we're not even left with anyone to root for; we realize with a little astonishment, waiting for the court verdict, that we don't care who wins." [7]

Yet, film critic Peter Stack liked the film and believes director Nava smartly juggles a lot of elements in the picture. He wrote, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love is a fresh, enlightening example of how to take a tragic American show-business story and make it funny, warm and terrifically entertaining...[it] brims with joyful spirit and raucous comedy...[and the film] deftly juggles a surprising number of elements, but they all work." [8]





Why Do Fools Fall in Love
Why Do Fools Fall in Love OST.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedSeptember 8, 1998
Genre Hip hop, R&B
Label Elektra/EastWest Records/The Gold Mind, Inc.
Producer Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Big Baby, Suga Mike, Gerard Thomas, Donald "Lenny" Holmes, Anthony Dent, Brian Alexander Morgan, Kay Gee, Darren Lighty, Keri "K.L." Lewis
Singles from Why Do Fools Fall in Love
  1. "5 Minutes"
    Released: June 29, 1998
  2. "No Fool, No More"
    Released: September 22, 1998
  3. "Get on the Bus"
    Released: September 29, 1998
  4. "I Want You Back"
    Released: October 13, 1998
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [9]

Two soundtrack albums were released for Why Do Fools Fall in Love by Warner Music Group. Why Do Fools Fall in Love: Original Versions from the Movie, released on September 8, 1998 by Rhino Records, contained fourteen songs, including five of Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers' original recordings. Also included are original hits by Little Richard, The Platters, The Shirelles, Otis Redding and others. [10]

Why Do Fools Fall in Love: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture was released on the same day as Original Versions from the Movie, but on Warner's East West Records label in conjunction with Elektra Records and The Goldmind Inc.. Save for one vintage Little Richard song, it features new hip-hop and contemporary R&B recordings practically unrelated to the actual film (one track, Gina Thompson's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", interpolates the Teenagers' hit and is featured over the film's end credits). Executive produced by Missy Elliott and primarily produced by her and Timbaland, this soundtrack album features songs by artists such as Elliott, Busta Rhymes, En Vogue, Destiny's Child, Coko of SWV and, making her solo debut, Spice Girls member Melanie B.

It peaked at 55 on the Billboard 200 and 15 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and spawned the singles "I Want You Back" by Melanie Brown featuring Missy Elliott (which peaked at number-one on the UK Singles Chart) [3] , En Vogue's "No Fool No More" (which peaked at 57 on the Billboard Hot 100), and Destiny's Child's "Get on the Bus". Singer Lil' Mo also made her debut with the single and music video for "Five Minutes."

Former Bad Boy recording artist Mase was slated to record with Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes for the soundtrack, but his contribution never made the final cut. [11]

Track listing

Why Do Fools Fall in Love: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
1."Why Do Fools Fall in Love" Gina Thompson featuring Mocha4:09
2."Get on the Bus" Destiny's Child featuring Timbaland 4:46
3."He Be Back" Coko featuring Missy Elliott 4:53
4."No Fool, No More" En Vogue 4:17
5."Get Contact"Missy Elliott & Busta Rhymes 3:31
6."Five Minutes" Lil' Mo featuring Missy Elliott5:25
7."I Want You Back" Melanie B featuring Missy Elliott3:53
8."About You" Mista 5:13
9."Love Is for Fools" Mint Condition 3:51
10."Without You" Nicole Wray 4:22
11."Splash" Next 5:09
12."What the Dealio" Total featuring Missy Elliott4:01
13."Crazy Love"Envyi featuring Baby Sham of the Flipmode Squad 4:00
14."Keep a Knockin'" Little Richard 5:33
Why Do Fools Fall in Love: Original Versions from the Movie
1."Why Do Fools Fall in Love" The Teenagers 2:19
2."Tutti Fruitti"Little Richard2:24
3."The Great Pretender" The Platters 2:41
4."Baby, Baby"Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers2:08
5."Long Lonely Nights" Clyde McPhatter 2:27
6."Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"The Platters2:40
7."Little Bitty Pretty One" Frankie Lymon 2:43
8."California Dreamin'" The Mamas and the Papas 2:39
9."All Day and All of the Night" The Kinks 2:24
10."The ABC's of Love"Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers1:58
11."Will You Love Me Tomorrow" The Shirelles 2:43
12."Try a Little Tenderness" Otis Redding 3:49
13."California Dreaming" Bobby Womack 3:23
14."Goody Goody"Frankie Lymon2:11

Related Research Articles

Frankie Lymon American singer

Franklin Joseph Lymon was an American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, best known as the boy soprano lead singer of the New York City-based early rock and roll group The Teenagers. The group was composed of five boys, all in their early to mid-teens. The original lineup of the Teenagers, an integrated group, included three African-American members, Frankie Lymon, Jimmy Merchant, and Sherman Garnes; and two Puerto Rican members, Joe Negroni and Herman Santiago. The Teenagers' first single, 1956's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", was also their biggest hit. After Lymon went solo in mid-1957, both his career and that of the Teenagers fell into decline. He was found dead at the age of 25 on the floor of his grandmother's bathroom from a heroin overdose. His life was dramatized in the 1998 film Why Do Fools Fall In Love.

The Teenagers American doo wop group

The Teenagers are an American doo wop group, most noted for being one of rock music's earliest successes, presented to international audiences by DJ Alan Freed. The group, which made its most popular recordings with young Frankie Lymon as lead singer, is also noted for being rock's first all-teenaged act.

Vivica A. Fox American actress and producer

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Herman Santiago Puerto Rican singer

Herman Santiago is a Puerto Rican rock and roll pioneer and songwriter who was previously a member of the vocal group Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. He (disputedly) co-wrote the group's iconic hit "Why Do Fools Fall in Love".

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Why Do Fools Fall in Love (song) 1956 single by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers

"Why Do Fools Fall in Love" is a song by American rock and roll band Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers that was released on January 10, 1956. It reached No. 1 on the R&B chart, No. 6 on Billboard's Pop Singles chart, and No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in July. Many renditions of the song by other artists have also been hit records in the U.S., including versions by the Diamonds, the Beach Boys, and Diana Ross.

Joe Negroni American singer

Joe Negroni was an American singer of Puerto Rican descent. He was a rock and roll pioneer and founding member of the rock and roll group Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.

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Zola Taylor American musician

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"I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent" is a song written by George Goldner and performed by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers. It reached #12 on the UK Singles Chart in 1957. The song was featured on their 1956 album, The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon.

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  4. Savada, Elias. Nitrate Online Review, August 28, 1998.
  5. The Numbers box office data. Last accessed: December 25, 2007
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  7. Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, August 28, 1998. Accessed: August 11, 2013.
  8. Stack, Peter. San Francisco Chronicle , "Captivating 'Fools' Hits Right Notes Superb acting in pop idol's biopic," film review, Section D-16, January 1, 1999. Accessed: August 11, 2013.
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  10. Why Do Fools Fall in Love: Original Versions - Soundtrack at Allmusic
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