Prince's film debut should be way shittier than it is. I'm sure there were plenty of critics who enjoyed panning this flick, but I'll tell you what: I've seen this movie probably five times in my life, and I never have any trouble sitting through the entire thing, front to back.
Part of that, of course, is the music. A good portion of the film is dedicated to live performances from Prince and The Revolution, and given the quality of the soundtrack and the flimsiness of the script, that was a good move. (Although the live performances are usually just lip-synced versions of the album tracks, but whatever.) Prince isn't a terrible actor in this movie - he ain't great, either - but when the dude's on stage, he's never more at home. So the fact that every song from the soundtrack gets played in its entirety during the course of this movie is not surprising. ("When Doves Cry" and "Take Me With U" are played during montages, but not performed live, however.)
The story isn't great, but when it's constantly being interspersed with sweet-ass songs, it makes it a lot more interesting. It's like music porn, basically. You sit through the piddly story to get to the good stuff. And really, while the story isn't mind-blowing, it's fun as shit to see Prince still living with his parents, writing songs in his lonely bedroom while snacking on Doritos. Seeing him backhand Apollonia across the chops is a little awkward, but I think it's meant to mirror how similar he is to his wife-beating father. Still: a bit much.
You also get a funky-fly Morris Day and his hilarious lackey-boy Jerome, Wendy & Lisa, and Appolonia getting her skank on. These are all good things. I need to pick up the two-disc deluxe edition of this thing, stat. My full-screen one-discer just ain't cutting the mustard anymore.