By any normal standard, "Graffiti Bridge" is an abysmally poor excuse for filmed entertainment - dramatically inert, amateurishly performed, written on the level of a junior high school play: you name it. Even its producer, who had a financial incentive to lie, called it "one of the worst movies ever made".
But, like most Prince fans, I'm not exactly normal, and, out of affection for the Skinny MF, I've managed to convince myself that its cinematic incompetence is no more of a bar to the conveyance of its meaning than are the crude colors and flattened perspective of folk art.
I'll go so far as to claim that "Graffiti Bridge" is an endearingly clumsy spiritual autobiography of sorts. Imagine St. Augustine's "The City of God" as written by an unschooled medieval peasant - albeit one with an incredible sense of rhythm. (Unh!) In that light, Morris Day as the unprincipled club owner can be seen not as the Snidely Whiplash-caliber bogeyman he might otherwise seem, but as a Bunyon-esque symbol of Worldly Temptation.
OK, it will help if you're stoned while you watch it. But the music really is terrifically good. (The climactic "Still Would Stand All Time" is a masterpiece of gospel - sung with heartbreaking conviction.) In the booty department: Jill Jones, the lovestruck waitress from "Purple Rain", takes off her panties in the middle of the street for some reason and, elsewhere, there is one thong on display. And Morris, though not given nearly as good material to work with here as he had in PR, still manages to be a comedic nonpareil. ("Let me perform for you my latest masterpiece - 'The Love Machine'.")