Malibu's Most Wanted

"Good"

Malibu's Most Wanted Review


Presenting the Hollywood theme of the month: dumb white boy poses as street thug at an all-black nightclub. First, it was Steve Martin as an uptight lawyer in Bringing Down the House. Now, it's Jamie Kennedy (TV's The Jamie Kennedy Experiment) in the race relations comedy Malibu's Most Wanted. The major difference: Kennedy's creation, white gangsta wannabe B-Rad, isn't just posin'. He really thinks he's down. In his mind, he ain't playin'; he's the real shiznit.

That's the crux of director John Whitesell's semi-parody on ethnic and societal stereotypes, and while suffering from being too thin and silly at times, the idea is pulled off better than one might expect. B-Rad is really Brad, as in Brad Gluckman, a super-privileged white Jewish boy who is forced to see what life in the 'hood is really like -- and finds that he actually fits in a little.

Brad's -- I mean, B-Rad's -- father is an innocuous one-dimensional man (Ryan O'Neal) running for Governor of California, and B-Rad is primed to help out on the campaign trail. But the kid is an accident waiting to happen, not to mention a walking dictionary of baffling street talk. When he creates a promo banner for dad that promotes his dedication to "bitches and hos", the candidate's staff decides to take action (even if the slogan does get the inner city vote).

Thinking they can "scare the black out of him", the staffers hire two classically trained black actors -- played by Taye Diggs and the ubiquitous Anthony Anderson -- to dress up like street hoods, carjack B-Rad's Escalade, and show him enough reality to make him whiter than a loaf of Wonder Bread.

The charm of this tale is that the plan just can't work --B-Rad is already being himself. Living his life as a gangsta rapper -- albeit a kind and peaceful one -- is his way of expressing his aspirations of stardom, just like some of the more "real" talent that he idolizes. Kennedy takes a little too long to comfortably inhabit this role, but once he reveals B-Rad's naïveté and simplicity, he's pretty easy to like.

The comic heart of the film, however, is not Kennedy, but Diggs and Anderson. They attack their pseudo-dual roles with such guts and spunk that they take over much of the movie. With their post-modern riff on the roles given to, and expectations placed on, actors of color, the pair keeps one eye on broad humor and the other on the inherent social implications.

So where is the line drawn between mocking racial stereotypes and giving in to them? It can be too gray an area as presented by Whitesell and his team of writers (including Kennedy): while they comment that there are too many misconceptions about black men, they also cast a few in the same stereotypical roles that they're parodying. What saves the film from this fence-sitting are goofy situations or twisted bits of dialogue that give your average movie thug a slightly different angle, making Malibu's Most Wanted more of a light, politically incorrect comedy than a screaming diatribe against racism. This was the same tact taken in Martin's Bringing Down the House, but the blatant manner of that film was aimed more at adults.

As mentioned, B-Rad does indeed end up in a hip-hop club, where he finally feels at home. There's something oddly sweet about a rich white kid who happily finds his identity while participating in an 8 Mile-style rap battle, in a place filled with blacks and Latinos. Especially when he can't throw down rhymes worth a lick and his pants are falling down.

Bonus features include some 20 minutes of deleted scenes (including an extended B-Rad dream sequence) and a full cast commentary track.

Word to his fatha.



Malibu's Most Wanted

Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th April 2003

Box Office USA: $34.3M

Distributed by: Warner Bros.

Production compaines: Karz Entertainment, Big Ticket Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 64

IMDB: 5.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as B-Rad, as Sean, as PJ, as Shondra, as Tom Gibbsons, as Tec, Ryan O'Neal as Bill Gluckman, as Bess Gluckman, as Dr. Feldman, as Hadji Amerislani, as Mocha, Keili Lefkovitz as Monster, as Brett, J.P. Manoux as Gary, as Jen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.