MALIBU’S MOST WANTED (2003)
Starring Jamie Kennedy, Taye Diggs, Anthony Anderson, Blair Underwood, Regina Hall, Damien Dante Wayans, Ryan O’Neal, Bo Derek, Kal Penn, Jeffrey Tambor, Nick Swardson, Terry Crews, Nikki Martinez, Keesha Sharp and the voice of Snoop Dogg.
Screenplay by Jamie Kennedy, Fax Bahr, Adam Small and Nick Swardson.
Directed by John Whitesell.
Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. 86 minutes. Rated PG-13.
The problem with films based on comedy sketches is that characters who are imagined for three-minute increments are suddenly expected to carry a 90-minute story. Well, the character of Brad (or B-Rad as he prefers to call himself) a rich Jewish kid with no rhythm who thinks he can be gangsta rapper has been a staple of comic Jamie Kennedy’s act for years. Most recently, B-Rad has showed up in bite-size chunks on his variety series The Jamie Kennedy Experience.
It is a very funny character. But does he deserve a movie?
This is especially questionable since the whole idea of a white suburban rich boy who thinks he’s a rapping gangbanger has been kind of done to death already. On the plus side, Kennedy has really nailed the role. He is able to tread the line of sounding completely at home and yet amazingly stupid using words like shizznit. Most hysterical is the pathetic whininess in B-Rad’s voice when he pleads “don’t be hatin’.” This shows you that this guy is not so much street as sidewalk.
The story to this film, if there really is one, is that B-Rad’s father (Ryan O’Neal) is running for Governor and his son is becoming an embarrassment. (Wait a second, wasn’t that the plot from Chris Farley’s Black Sheep?) The candidate’s buppie campaign manager (Blair Underwood) decides that the best way to get the kid to give up his ghetto affectations is to let him really experience what life is like in Compton. He hires two African American actors (Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) to kidnap B-Rad and let him experience the real streets. The problem is Diggs and Anderson as Juilliard grads are as out of place in the hood as B-Rad is. They also are very funny, trying in their method way to find their characters.
The set-up and the introduction to all these characters leads the audience to get its hopes up for this little film. In fact, Malibu’s Most Wanted works really well for about a half-hour to forty-five minutes. The film is quite often surprisingly funny, but eventually it’s a one-joke premise stretched out way longer than it deserves. (4/03)
Copyright ©2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 20, 2003.