Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2002. Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Urban Media. Story by John Ridley, Screenplay by John Ridley, Michael McCullers, based on the internet series by John Ridley. Cinematography by Tom Priestley Jr.. Produced by Brian Grazer, Michael Jenkinson, Damon Lee, Greg McKay. Music by Stanley Clarke. Production Design by William A. Elliott. Costume Design by Danielle Hollowell. Film Editing by William Kerr.
There’s a lot more than just slapstick comedy going on in this hilarious spoof of seventies ‘blaxploitation’ movies; beneath all the humour there’s a non-subtle, totally appropriate slap in the face of racism. Eddie Griffin is excellent in the title role as an afro-touting, platform shoe-wearing undercover agent who teams up with an underground operation called B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. to stop an evil old white man called ‘The Man’ from completely destroying the country’s chances of having its first black President. Billy Dee Williams plays the candidate for this title, a powerful general who is brainwashed into submission by the Man’s organization on the very day that he is to announce his plans to run, and instead ends up opening a chain of fried chicken restaurants. There are a couple of times when the jokes get a little too silly, but the film truly is funny and meaningful, and the performers all give it their best (even Denise Richards as the vixen known as White She-Devil has moments reminiscent of a young Kim Basinger). Aunjanue Ellis is excellent as the romantic lead from Undercover Brother named Sistah Girl, and Dave Chappelle is hysterical in the film’s best performance as Conspiracy Brother.