Archive for Eddie Griffin

Revisited: Undercover Brother

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins with a back story of how black culture’s popularity with the American public began to decline in the 1980s, when style and originality began to lose appeal in the public eye due to the persistent efforts of “The Man” (Robert Trumbull), a powerful Caucasian man in control of a secret organization that seeks to undermine the African-American community as well as the cultures of other minorities. The Man is infuriated that Gen. Warren Boutwell (Billy Dee Williams), a U.S. Army general based on Colin Powell, is considering running for president, and his lackey Mr. Feather (Chris Kattan) informs him of a mind control drug which The Man uses to make Boutwell abort his plans and instead open a fried chicken franchise. The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., a secret organization that battles The Man’s influence, determines The Man is behind Boutwell’s change of heart, and recruits a freelance agent named Undercover Brother (Eddie Griffin) to aid them.

Undercover Brother joins B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. which is made up of the Chief (Chi McBride), Conspiracy Brother (Dave Chappelle), Smart Brother (Gary Anthony Williams), Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis), and Lance (Neil Patrick Harris), an intern who is the only white man in the organization due to affirmative action. Undercover Brother goes undercover as a new employee at a cigarette company owned by The Man, where Mr. Feather discovers his identity. He deploys a secret weapon that he calls “Black Man’s Kryptonite”, an attractive assassin named White She-Devil (Denise Richards). Posing as another new employee, she and Undercover Brother start dating, and she begins to make him do stereotypical “white” things, such as buying corduroy and khaki clothes, singing karaoke, and adopting a silly set of euphemisms. Meanwhile, The Man distributes his mind control drug through Boutwell’s fried chicken, infecting other black celebrities and making them act white.

Concerned with Undercover Brother’s unusual behavior, Sistah Girl attacks White She-Devil and convinces Undercover Brother to return to the fight. White-She-Devil turns on her own henchmen to save the two, revealing she has fallen in love with Undercover Brother. They return to the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., where Smart Brother questions White She-Devil about The Man and Lance is officially made part of the group when he declares his desire to abolish bigotry after watching Roots. The group heads to an awards gala after they find out that James Brown is The Man’s next target. Mr. Feather kidnaps Brown and takes him to The Man’s base. B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. secures an antidote for the mind control drug and follows via a transmitter placed on Brown, infiltrating the base posing as a cleaning crew, to rescue Brown and a mysterious “Candidate” that The Man plans to use to land a crushing blow to black culture.

Mr. Feather prepares to administer the drug to Brown and present him as a trophy to The Man, and Brown reveals himself as Undercover Brother in disguise. Mr. Feather sends his henchmen after B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., who discover the Candidate is Boutwell, and is ordered by Mr. Feather to kill Undercover Brother. In the fighting, Conspiracy Brother accidentally begins the building’s self-destruct sequence. The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. cures Boutwell and evacuate him from the building while Undercover Brother chases Mr. Feather to the roof. The Man’s helicopter circles overhead and leaves, The Man abandoning Mr. Feather for failing him. Mr. Feather jumps onto the helicopter’s landing gear as it flies away, and Undercover Brother uses his afro picks to impale Mr. Feather in the buttocks, causing him to fall into the water where he is eaten by a shark. However, The Man escapes. Undercover Brother survives the building’s self-destruct by leaping off the building and using his wide pant legs as parachutes. He and Sistah Girl kiss and leave the island, the world at peace.

REVIEW:

I didn’t know this, but apparently there was an internet cartoon that was the inspiration for Undercover Brother. Strangely enough, if you try to look it up, most of the results that pop up are for this underrated cult film. The question is, what is it that scared people away from it when it was released and why is it not more widely known, if it is such a good film?

What is this about?

In this loopy comedy, a lone-wolf urban hero goes undercover as a preppy nerd to get to the bottom of things when a black general suddenly abandons a viable presidential bid to open a chain of fried-chicken restaurants.

What did I like?

Funky. At first glance, you might think this is a Blaxploitation film from the 70s, what with the music, afros, and whatnot, but that isn’t the case. Undercover Brother is just not with the times. His love for the 70s, though, led to some interesting music choices when it came to the soundtrack. If ever there was an excuse to play 70s funk, with the exception of the beginning of Pulp Fiction or your typical porn music, this was it. Boy does it make all the difference having authentic funk, as opposed to some generic lab music that could have been placed there instead.

Stereotypes. It has long been said that stereotypes hurt, even though they are funny and rooted in truth. Well, without stereotypes, this film would not exist. Take for instance the belief that white people love mayonnaise. I happen to know quite a few that don’t feel that way. Same goes for African-Americans and hot sauce I’ll refrain from mentioning the phallic cigarette example…you need to see that for yourself. Now, the situation UB gets into that exposes said stereotypes are quite hilarious and a big part of the comedy that is used in this film, so if you don’t understand and/or are offended by such musings, you might want to stay away.

Chemistry. When someone mentions chemistry as it pertains to a film, 9 times out 10 they are referring to the spark between the leading man and lady, especially if they have some kind of romantic angle. In this case, though, I’m going to speak on the chemistry between Undercover Brother and his archenemy, Mr. Feather, played by Eddie Griffin and Chris Kattan, respectively. First off, these are both vertically challenged comedians, shall we say, so putting them together opposite each other was a stroke of genius. Throw in their horrendous attempts at kung fu and a few one-liners, not to mention Kattan’s weird way of slipping into “blackness”, and these guys steal the show. You could almost have a film with just them going back and forth at each other…almost.

What didn’t I like?

Wet and Wild things. Denise Richards plays a character called “White She-Devil”. Before you laugh too hard, remember this a satire about Blaxploitation, racism, etc. Richards is best known for 3 things. A)She has always had a body to die for. B). She married Charlie Sheen. C). A certain scene from Wild Things. Even though no one in this film is at the top of their craft when it comes to acting, you can’t help but think that Richards wasn’t cast for her acting ability. This is further proven by the fact that she is lured into a catfight, which led to a shower scene with Sistah Girl. Again, this is nothing but spoof and satire, but it felt out of place, almost like the sprinkler scene in Scary Movie 2. Still, as a red-blooded, heterosexual male, I can’t say that I was complaining about what I saw.

Sitcom ending. In a time gone by, sitcoms would end with everyone gathered in the living room or somewhere, talking about what happened to them over the course of the episode and giving the audience the “moral of the story” For years, even South Park used this trope, as the episodes would all end with Kyle telling a tale that touches the heart of the town. Nothing that extreme will be heard here, but there is a speech after the climax that seems like it belongs in said sitcoms.

Dropping hints. All throughout the film, hints are dropped at something bigger. Be they the paranoia of Conspiracy Brother, the mad plot of “the Man”, the Affirmative action hiring of Neil Patrick Harris’ character, etc. Basically, it is obvious that this was mean for something greater, but that never came, which is a shame, but it is what it is, right?

Undercover Brother delivers on all the laughs, spoof, and satire that it is said to have done. With a soundtrack full of funk and a cast of characters that are sure to make you laugh, this film actually over achieved. I personally think there was too much focus placed on everyone but UB, including Lance the intern, James Brown, Smart Brother, and so on and the rest of the gang. Do I recommend it? My answer is only if you can handle it. No, there’s nothing objectionable in here, save for the aforementioned stereotypes. Give this one a shot sometime! Your laughter will thank me!

4 out of 5 stars 

The New Guy

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins with prison inmate Luther speaking directly to the camera to an unseen individual, telling the story of Dizzy Gillespie Harrison, an 18-year-old nerdy high school senior. Dizzy is friends with Nora, Kirk, and Glen, who together started a funk rock band and are addicted to video games. They attend Rocky Creek High School, where Dizzy is picked on by basically everyone, but especially star football player Barclay. This occurs before and after sex symbol Tina Osgood holds his hands, causing him to have an erection and ends up activating the trap where the jocks belittle him with no mercy. Dizzy’s white briefs were yanked from underneath his pants and placed around his head – revealing the erect penis in plain sight to nearly everyone instead of “covering it.” The school librarian would eventually “break” it after Dizzy refuses to “hand” over the “weapon” to her. Dizzy is misdiagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome; he is then placed on medication by the school counselor who advises his father to spend every moment possible with him. While at the mall’s food court, the heavily medicated Dizzy makes a fool of himself at a church revival and gets arrested.

In jail, Dizzy meets Luther, who turns out to be a sympathetic ex-victim who makes it his goal to teach him how to be cool. In an attempt to wipe the slate clean, Dizzy gets himself expelled from his old high school, then undergoes a makeover with the help of the prison inmates and guards. Changing his name to ‘Gil Harris’, he enrolls at East Highland High and makes an impression by being dropped off in a prison van in restraints (a reference to Con Air) and beating up the school bully, Connor.

The action has an intended effect, and head cheerleader Danielle welcomes the newcomer to school.[3] Her friend Courtney invites Dizzy to a party and through a mishap, Dizzy gives Courtney the impression that he has rejected her. Using a photo given to him by the prison inmates and help from his old friends, Dizzy manages to escape the party with his reputation intact. Upon returning home, however, he finds his father has agreed to sell his house and quit work to supervise him, which results in the pair living in a trailer.

At the football game, Dizzy, referencing General Patton in the film, gives an impassioned speech to the team, who proceed to win their first game. He is soon enlisted by the coach and principal to plan the school’s homecoming dance, and becomes imbued with school spirit, shedding his bad boy image.

However, Dizzy and Gil are fast becoming too big for one body. When Nora berates Dizzy for becoming the same person he once hated, he uses his newfound popularity to confront Connor. Dizzy and Danielle spur the students to reunite, and the lines dividing the different cliques are broken. With a new philosophy, the school football team begins to win games and bullying becomes a thing of the past. Reaching the state championship, where they play Rocky Creek, Dizzy’s antics on the sideline cost Rocky Creek the game, although Barclay recognizes his old punching bag. At school the next day, he attempts to beat up Dizzy, and is in turn attacked by the entire student body. After the attack, Connor helps up Barclay from the ground, telling him he wants to know what he knows (about Dizzy).

The homecoming dance, which Dizzy’s funk band is supposed to play, is crashed by the students of Rocky Creek. Barclay and Connor, who have joined forces to set a trap for Dizzy, play an embarrassing video of the librarian incident. However, Luther and the other inmates arrive to save Dizzy and tie up the two bullies. Nora admits longstanding feelings for Glen, and after Danielle reveals that she was also a nerd growing up and forgives him for hiding who he was they reconcile.

Luther ends the film, and the man he is talking to is revealed to be David Hasselhoff.

REVIEW:

Being a military brat, I was quite often the new kid. It wasn’t until college that I finally stayed someplace from beginning to end. This brings me to The New Guy, a silly, fun film from the early 2000s that has been all but forgotten. Is there a reason for this? Can this picture really be that bad?

What is this about?

Tired of being hassled, a high school geek purposely gets expelled… and ends up in jail, where a street-smart inmate tutors the teen in “badass cool.” After he’s released, he enrolls at a new school under an alias — but can he keep up the ruse.

What did I like?

Plot. When it comes to being a kid in school, sometimes you just have to reinvent yourself, especially when you’re being picked on at one school and moving to another one, but above all, you can’t forget who you really are. In all the bad thoughts and themes that permeate movies these days, it was nice to see one that actually had a moral to it, especially since it went through the hilarious way to get there.

Makeover. I want you to think of just about every makeover that has happened in films. Have you noticed that they all are pretty attractive to begin with, just hidden under baggy clothes, greasy hair, and glasses. At least that would be the example one would get from a film like She’s All That. With that in mind, our star DJ Qualls is not what one would call conventionally attractive, so the makeover her received, if you can call it that, was actually a makeover, for lack of a more appropriate term.

Bully. I do believe this is the first film I’ve seen where the bully doesn’t win or at least get away with their plan to make life a living hell for the protagonist. I actually like the fact that no matter how hard they tried, including teaming up and exposing Qualls’ character, they just couldn’t bring him down. Sometimes you just need to see that the bad guys aren’t infallible.

What didn’t I like?

Montage. Eliza Dushku in a montage of trying on bikinis. What could be wrong with that, right? Well, it doesn’t quite seem to fit into the story or serve any purpose other than showing her hotness. If there would have been a logical progression that had them going to the beach or pool, it would have made sense, but this was just random. I appreciate the eye candy, though.

Friends. If I had a friend who was doing a plan to change themselves, for whatever reason, and ran into them in the mall, I don’t think I would do what Qualls’ friends did to him. After getting spurned by him, they make an attempt to sick the bully from the old school on him. Now, if this was me, I’d want to say hi, but if I see he’s with new friends, especially a hit girl, I’d wait until a better chance, not get my panties all twisted like these three.

Cameos. I have no problems with cameos, but they have to either make sense or have a purpose. For instance, Stan Lee in just about every Marvel film makes sense because he created Marvel and just about all those characters. However, having this string of cameos, Vanilla Ice, The McConnell brothers, Tommy Lee, etc. Now, given the way the film begins with a younger version of Qualls’ character dancing to James Brown, it would have made sense if he would have appeared. Dizzy Gillespie would have also been a sensible cameo, were he still alive, given that is the name of the Qualls’ character before he gets expelled.

All in all, The New Guy is a film that is enjoyable, but not really that good. This poses a conundrum as to what one should think about it. For me, I like goofy comedies like this, no matter how bad they are, as long as they are watchable. So, my final verdict on this is that it is a nice flick to watch when you just want to laugh, but not something to go out of your way to find, unless you’re feeling retro for the early 2000s. Give it a shot if this sounds like you.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Jason’s Lyric

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Jason’s Lyric is the “good brother”/”bad brother” story, which was set to be filmed in the 5th ward of Houston, but due to gentrification the only part that was filmed there was the basketball scene. The remainder was filmed in the 3rd ward.

Jason (Allen Payne) is a responsible young man who has a job in a television repair shop and lives at home with his hard-working mom (Suzzanne Douglass). Joshua (Bokeem Woodbine) is the younger brother just released from prison and obviously bound for a violent end. Joshua deals drugs for short-term cash and joins a gang plotting a bank robbery.

When Lyric (Jada Pinkett Smith) walks into the shop to buy a television, Jason meets his perfect match. She has dreams of escape, and inspires Jason to do supposedly romantic things like borrow a city bus to take her on a date. Their relationship continually grows and blossoms into love. The height comes when Jason and Lyric take a romantic ride in a rowboat, then make love in the woods.

In a series of flashbacks, Forest Whitaker plays the boys’ father, Mad Dog. Throughout the film, Jason has nightmares about a tragedy in his childhood. Either Jason or Joshua killed Mad Dog while he was drunkenly attacking their mother. It turns out that Jason accidentally killed Mad Dog in the end. Jason managed to take the gun from Joshua and accidentally shot Mad Dog in the chest. After being comforted by Lyric, he learns to deal with his past.

As punishment for being late for the bank robbery, Joshua is beaten by the rest of his gang. When Joshua returns home and Jason realize how badly he’s been beaten, Jason confronts the leader of the gang.

Jason then meets Lyric at the bayou and tells her that he can’t leave with her and that his nightmares occur because he killed his father when he was a child and that’s why he feels obligated to his family.

Things get worse when Joshua hears his mother tell Jason to leave town with Lyric because he doesn’t owe her or Joshua anything. Joshua believes that Jason is leaving not only because of Lyric, but because Alonzo (the gang leader) may take revenge. Joshua plans to kill them all in order to keep his brother from leaving.

Jason hears about Joshua’s plan and heads to Alonzo/Lyric’s house, but he’s too late. He see’s what has happened and rushes upstairs looking for Lyric. He finds that Joshua has a gun pointed at her neck. He is able to convince Joshua not to kill her, but he accidentally pulls the trigger and shoots her on the right-side of her shoulder. Jason carries her out of the house, injured, but still alive. However, Joshua is too fed up with his life and decides to end it all by killing himself (offscreen). After hearing the gunshot, Jason already knows that his brother is dead. The film ends with Jason and Lyric riding a bus, leaving town.

REVIEW:

 I’m a little partial to this picture, as it is one of the first films I saw that showed boobs. Yeah, that isn’t that big of a deal to me now, but for a teenage boy, it was.

Keeping in step with the urban gangster films of the early to mid 90s, Jason’s Lyric chooses to go more with the with the everyday drama of young urban life with just some hints at gang life, if you can even call it that.

The plot, as mentioned above, is really a good brother/bad brother story. Jason, the good brother, kept his nose clean, has a job, and once he meets Lyric has the girl and a way out. The bad brother, Joshua, has apparently, been in and out of jail for various reasons, leading to him being nothing more than a disappointment to his mother and leaving the viewer to wonder what would happen to him if not for Jason looking out for him.

Belive it or not, the dram between the brothers is actually more of the major plot than the relationship between Jason and Lyric, even though that is the film’s title.

Speaking of said relationship involving Lyric, she seems to be wise beyond her years and a nice complement to Jason who is always trying to be the hero, which is why he is still in the ghetto and hasn’t left for greener pastures.

The climax of the film is one that can touch on the heartstrings if you one of those really emotional types. I’m not one of those, but I can tell how it could be construed as emotional.

Allen Payne gives the best performance I’ve seen from him in his career here as Jason. He does seem, at times, to be a bit of a dumb jock, but then a pretty fact can do that to guys sometimes, right?

Speaking of that face, Jade Pinkett (not yet Smith) looks positively radiant, but I can’t get over that horrendously fake Texas accent. As a native Texan, I’m offended by it, to be honest with you.

Bokeem Woodbine makes a name for himself as Josh, and may very well give the best performance of the movie at the end when he’s struggling between what I believe are the good and evil thought going through his brain.

Jason’s Lyric is one of those films that was popular when it was new, but has since been forgotten, which is quite a shame because this is really a fine piece of cinema. Sure, it isn’t one of the greats, but it is worth viewing. Why not check it out if you get the chance?

4 out of 5 stars

Norbit

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Norbit Albert Rice (Eddie Murphy) and Kate Thomas (Thandie Newton) were the best of friends in an orphanage as children owned by their father figure, Mr. Wong (Eddie Murphy), but were separated when Kate was adopted. After being bullied by twins in the orphanage, Norbit meets Rasputia Latimore (Eddie Murphy), a fat, self-centered, overbearing, vain girl who makes Norbit her boyfriend and protects him from other kids. As they both grow up, Rasputia dominates every aspect of Norbit’s life and they eventually marry. Rasputia mistreats, insults, and dominates Norbit to ensure that she keeps him to herself.

Years later, Norbit is performing a puppet show for the children at the orphanage when he sees Kate for the first time in years. Stunned by her, his affection for her returns. He is disappointed to find out that she is engaged to Deion Hughes (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a sneaky, slick-talking businessman. Eventually, Kate and Norbit fall in love with each other, resulting from Kate teaching Norbit how to finally ride a bike.

Rasputia finds out about Norbit and Kate’s affection for each other and tries to prevent Norbit from talking to her. Things become more complicated when Norbit uncovers a plan by the Latimore brothers, Black Jack, Earl, and Blue (Terry Crews, Clifton Powell and Lester “Rasta” Speight, respectively), who wish to purchase Kate and Norbit’s former orphanage to open up a strip club. The brothers convince Deion to become their business partner in the venture. When Kate finds out about the deal she assumes Norbit was behind it all and only used her. When she confronts him after he is locked in the basement by a resentful Rasputia, Norbit lies to Kate to save her from Rasputia. In a fit of rage, Kate leaves Norbit to marry Deion.

Norbit escapes his confinement in the basement, and races to the church where Deion and Kate are to be married. Norbit reveals that Deion has gotten rich off of divorce settlements, and only marries women for their money; he proves this by presenting Deion’s ex-wives and children in person. Deion flees, and the Latimores attack Norbit.

Just as the brothers prepare to kill Norbit, the mob of townspeople arrive, who have all taken arms to defend Norbit and get revenge on the Latimores. Rasputia fights her way through the crowd, and just when Rasputia is about to kill Norbit, she is harpooned in the rear by Mr. Wong. She is chased out of town with her brothers and Deion, who are chased by the mob of townspeople.

Kate and Norbit buy the orphanage and get married under the tree that they once played as children. Rasputia and her brothers move to Mexico and open up the “El Nipplopolis” with Rasputia, who has become their most popular and lucrative stripper.

REVIEW:

 I could sit here and say that this was hands down one of the worst films I’d ever seen, but the truth is, Norbit really isn’t half as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Having said that, this is still far from being a good film.

The biggest thing this film has going for it, aside from negative publicity, is that it can be seen as extremely offensive to those that are…on the larger side.

This thing keeps with the fat jokes, but aside from the initial joke, it gets old quick. If they really wanted to keep up with the fat jokes, then they should take a page from Mike & Molly and sprinkle on in here and there. At least on that show, it isn’t offensive. Hell, I was getting offended watching this mess, especially the scene at the water park. I know that was supposed to be for comedic effect, which is all fine and dandy, but this was just uncalled for.

Anyone remember when Eddie Murphy actually made movies that were funny? I think the last one might have been the 2nd Nutty Professor. I wonder where his comedic talent went. This film shows he has it now and then, but it is sort of like a light that is about to go out.

Murphy seems desperate with this film. This may explain why he cakes on the makeup to play Norbit, who seems to be Murphy’s version of an Adam Sandler character, Rasputia, and Mr. Wong. I’m sorry, I know that the makeup was a huge thing when he first did it, but now it has been done so much, that it just isn’t funny anymore. Of course, this script/story may have ha something to do with that.

If there is a bright spot to this film it is the acting of Cuba Gooding, Jr. and the lovely Thandie Newton. Gooding is your generic douche boyfriend, but he does it as only he can. Newton is a vision of loveliness. I have to wonder, though, if she was cast for her stick figure frame, as a contrast to Rasputia. Aside from being breathtakingly beautiful, she really makes the audience believe her performance.

Another bright spot was the pimps, played by Eddie Griffin and Katt Williams. Do I really need to say anything else? These guys are hilarious (something Murphy used to be).

Sure, Norbit has been panned by critics and moviegoers alike, but it really isn’t as bad as they would have you belive. Don’t get me wrong, this thing is bad, but there is some heart buried underneath all the fat jokes and Murphy’s makeup. I am hesitant to do this, but I do think you should check it out, if for no other reason than to make an informed decision for yourself.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Deuce Bigalow (Rob Schneider) is a diminutive fishtank cleaner (aquarist). Deuce has no success in attracting women, so he tries to stay busy with work. On a house call, he meets male prostitute Antoine Laconte (Oded Fehr). Antoine is going on a business trip, and he asks Deuce to care for his lionfish and home while he’s away. Deuce accidentally sets Antoine’s kitchen on fire when trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich in the toaster, and smashes an expensive fish tank.

Fearing for his life, Deuce is forced to find a way to pay off Antoine for the damage. Low-rent pimp T.J. Hicks (Eddie Griffin) offers to help Deuce make enough money to buy a new fish tank, and convinces Deuce to take over the absent Antoine’s role as a gigolo. Deuce decides to make the clients feel better about themselves, since he only desires to have sex with beautiful, sexy women. Deuce meets unusual clients but he still manages to get along with them by doing something that has never happened with them before. They include a woman who is narcoleptic, so he just “sleeps” with her; one who has fictional Tourette Syndrome with coprolalia, and who therefore is afraid of socializing. Deuce takes her to a baseball game, where her sporadic outbursts of profanity are likely to fit in with the crowd’s yelling. After a few outbursts, the crowd starts cheering with her. Another client weighs close to 750 pounds. Deuce averts the woman’s advances, leaving her somewhat emotionally disarmed to the point of revealing her insecurities with her appearance. Deuce quickly comes up with an alternative form of “play.” The scene changes to Deuce and the woman sitting on her sofa playing a food-themed trivia game, where she has answers the game winning question. She is smiling and clapping her hands with enjoyment, having dismissed the notions of having sex with him. Another woman has a pituitary gland disorder and is extremely tall, so tall in fact that her face is always out of frame (her face is never revealed throughout the film). As Deuce walks down a sidewalk with the woman, various unseen bystanders yell insults at her, such as “Freak!” and, “That’s a huge bitch!” the latter insult becoming one of the most memorable lines from the movie (later appearing in other films). Deuce again avoids having sex with the woman, who at first throws him on her bed and begins aggressively pulling off his clothes. The scene changes to imply a brief lapse in time, where the woman is groaning with pleasure and Deuce is giving her a foot massage with oil. She excitedly moans that no one has ever touched her feet before.

Deuce is pursued by Detective Chuck Fowler (William Forsythe), who demands Antoine’s black book of clients and threatens to take Deuce to jail if he doesn’t comply. Deuce falls in love with one of his clients—Kate (Arija Bareikis), who has a fake leg. She breaks up with Deuce when she finds out that he was a prostitute hired by her friends.

Deuce helps Detective Fowler please his wife via stripping and erotic dancing, and the two make peace. Deuce is still taken into custody on prostitution charges, as Fowler needs someone to bring in. At the hearing, it is revealed that Deuce never slept with any of the clients except for Kate. Since Deuce gave back the money to Kate and was not paid for sex with her, he is cleared of all charges.

Using the money he made, Deuce restores Antoine’s fish tank, albeit with lower-quality glass. Unfortunately, one of Deuce’s friends accidentally kills the prize fish in Antoine’s aquarium. Deuce buys a replacement fish and returns to Antoine’s house just in time. Antoine is suspicious, but cannot figure out why. He taps the new aquarium and the glass shatters. Deuce then reveals his man-whoring escapades to the confused and angry Antoine. Outraged, Antoine tries to kill Deuce, but the overweight client shows up, comes between the two men (she is not killed because the arrow Antonio shoots at Deuce hits her breasts where she has a roasted chicken hidden), and saves Deuce’s life. Antoine is then arrested by Detective Fowler. Deuce marries Kate.

REVIEW:

 For those of us that grew up in the days when Saturday Night Live was actually funny, you are sure to remember that Rob Schneider was one of the funnier guys during the early 90s era of the show, along with Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, etc. With that in mind, is it any wonder that the guy has gone to make a name for himself in these kind of films?

Now, I will say that Schneider is no Sandler, and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo doesn’t really compare to most of Sandler’s films, but that is like comparing apples to oranges. It really is a matter of taste, more than anything.

So, the basic idea of this film is that Deuce is a lowly fish tank cleaner who somehow manages to break an expensive tank owned by Antoine the gigolo. This leads to his accidentally becoming a gigolo to pay for it. During his gigolo days, he meets an eclectic mix of women, each with their own problems, including the girl of his dreams.

See, the story isn’t too shabby. Can you imagine if they would have had Rob Schneider hooking up with a bunch of perfectly hot women like the ones Antoine has before he leaves? Something tells me it just wouldn’t have worked, let alone have been believable. Yet, the assorted “freaks” they paraded out for him not only made for great comedic moments (especially Amy Poheler’s Tourette’s Syndrome induce profane outbursts), but seemed to be the kind of women a guy like his character would be able to get if he weren’t a gigolo.

This comedy is driven more by the physical humor rather than actual jokes. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but with seasoned comedic actors like Schneider and Eddie Griffin, you’d have thought they’d have been given something more to work with. Maybe I was just expecting too mch, though.

Schneider plays arguably his most likable character here as the lovable loser and titular character, Deuce Bigalow. I would have liked to have seen him have a little more fun with it, though.

Eddie Griffin has some great moments as T.J., the he-pimp. In this film, he doesn’t really shine like he does in the sequel, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, but he’s still vintage Griffin.

Oded Fehr, who may best be known for his role in The Mummy franchise, shows his versatility in this comedic role. Sure, he’s still a scary, imposing presence on the screen, but he has som good comedic moments, especially at the end.

The women that Deuce gets to “seduce” , for lack of a better term, are…intersting, to say the least. I’ve already mention Amy Poheler, bt there’s also Big Boy, and obscenely hot Jacqeline Obradors and Marlo Thomas, among others.

As far as great comedies go, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo isn’t up there with the classics, nor will it be remembered for years to come, but it is one of those that is fun to watch and isn’t half bad. If you’re a fan of this type of humor, then this is a must-see for you. I highly recommend it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Meteor Man

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Jefferson Reed is a mild mannered school teacher in Washington D.C.. His neighborhood is terrorized by a local gang called the Golden Lords. One night, Jeff steps in to rescue a woman from the gang, only to end up running from them himself. Hiding in a garbage dumpster, he manages to escape, and as he climbs out of it, he is struck down by a glowing green meteorite which crashes down from the sky. His spine is crushed and he receives severe burns. A small fragment of the meteor was left over and was taken by a silent vagrant (Bill Cosby). Reed awakens several days later in the hospital, but when his bandages are taken off, he is miraculously healed from all his injuries.

Jeff soon discovers the meteorite has left him with other abilities too, such as flight, x-ray vision and superhuman strength. Confiding this to his parents (Robert Guillaume and Marla Gibbs), he is convinced by them to use his powers to try and help the community. His mother designs a costume for him, and as The Meteor Man, he takes on the Golden Lordsand their leader Simon Caine (Roy Fegan). He shuts down a crack house, stops a robbery, and unites the Crips, Bloods and the police.

The Golden Lords learn of Meteor Man’s identity, and the ongoing loss of his powers. As the gang vs. the community rivalry gets out of hand, after yet another attack by the Golden Lords. The community members plan to make a deal with them, Jeff jumps in and teaches them about fighting for their beliefs. A powerless Jeff fights Simon and gets beaten up in the process. Simon raises his gun up towards Jeff, planning to shoot him until Jeff’s neighbor (James Earl Jones) throws a record at him and successfully knocks the gun out of Simon’s hand. At this point the neighborhood fights back and the same man who picked up the small meteor fragment uses it to strip the Golden Lords of their guns. The man accidentally drops the meteor on the ground and Jeff and Simon notice this. They both get a fragment of the meteor, gaining superpowers, and engage in a brawl, with Meteor Man as the victor.

Afterwards, the drug lord Mr. Byers (Frank Gorshin) confronts Meteor Man, but is outnumbered by the Bloods and the Crips, who show up to protect Meteor Man. Byers is then arrested by the police after attempting to “take a vacation to the Bahamas”.

REVIEW:

In the early 90s, Robert Townsend was what Tyler Perry is today, in terms of being a bankable director/producer. This isn’t necessarily one of his best outings, but it is one that he has said he is extremely proud of, especially with the resurgence of the superhero genre in the past few years.

The story is simple, nerdy teacher type living in a bad neighborhood has things going pretty good, then things fall apart, culminating in his stereo and bass being stolen. Soon, he is hit with a meteor, which seeps into his skin and gives him superpowers, but apparently leaves him burned. As the film progresses he learns about his powers, such as being able to absorb the contents of any book he touches for 30 seconds. Bah, blah, blah…our hero finally comes to terms with his powers and begins to good around the city (even if he is scared of heights). He eventually crosses the local gang that cuases trouble for his community and is hellbent on getting revenge on him, which pretty much takes up the last hour of the film.

At one point during the picture, Jeff loses his powers. This could have been made more effective if there would have been some sort of explanation of the meteor’s powers. Personally, I think there should have been two parts, one for Robert Townsend, and the other for one of the major villains. It would make more sense, especially seeing as how this is a superhero flick.

All the cameos and appearances by stars such as Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones, Nancy Wilson, Luther Vandross, Frank Gorshin, etc., really impressed me, though I think some could have been utilized better.

The effects aren’t too shabby, for their time, but at the same time it is quite obvious they weren’t even trying to make it look real.

The villain, played by Frank Gorshin, had potential, but as I said before just was utilized. They would have been better served focusing more on Simon, the Golden Lords leader, and having Gorshin as a figure head of some sort, in a manner congruent with Dr. Klaw from the Inspector Gadget cartoons.

The Meteor Man mixes laughs with action and a hint of drama, which makes for an interesting film, but the problem is that just when it finds its niche, or groove, if you will, it jumps into another direction. This may be why so many people are down on this picture. Personally, I think it wasn’t that bad…not that great either, but worth a viewing or two, mostly reserved for when it comes on TV, or if you’re in a nostalgic mood for the early 90s.

3 out of 5 stars

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Gigolos in Europe are being terrorized by a serial killer. In Malibu, self-styled fish-expert Deuce Bigalow’s wife is dead from a shark attack. Deuce, who briefly worked as a gigolo, is called up by T.J. Hicks, his former pimp, who invites him to come to Amsterdam where T.J. is pimping. Deuce goes because he is suspected of complicity in some dolphin-related injuries in Malibu.

Deuce comes to Amsterdam and meets up with T.J. who shows him his boat, or “float crib,” which has water in the cabin. T.J. and Deuce go to a coffeeshop where they get high and bump into Heinz Hummer, the “gigolo with the most below.”

After leaving the coffee shop, Deuce finds Hummer dead in an alley, but thinks he is just “wasted.” Deuce takes the dead gigolo to T.J.’s float crib, where they watch a local topless weather lady on the television, until T.J. gets back and immediately realizes Hummer is dead. T.J. is seen dumping the body with Hummer’s zipper open (after an attempt to confirm rumors that Heinz is extremely well-endowed), and is subsequently portrayed in the media as a gay gigolo killer. At least, T.J. escapes. Deuce, on the other hand, is apprehended and taken to the police station where he is interviewed by Gaspar, a police inspector who wants to know where T.J. is hiding.

Upon his release from the police station, Deuce finds T.J. at a chicken ‘n’ waffles restaurant. After they leave the restaurant, Deuce recalls that he saw the real killer walking away from Hummer’s body. Deuce says it was a woman, so they both figure it was a she-john, a former client of the murdered gigolo.

T.J. convinces Deuce to help find the real killer by becoming a gigolo again, visiting the former clients and rooting out the killer. They attend a meeting of the Royal Order Of European Man Whores (an organization of male prostitutes), but fail to procure a list of the clients. Afterwards, they get the list from Antoine, the professional gigolo who appeared in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.

Deuce and T.J. visit the first client on the list. While Deuce is intimated by the woman T.J. breaks into her residence and finds a brand of lipstick which might be the kind found on all the victims. After leaving, Deuce finds Gaspar on the street and shows him the lipstick. Gaspar throws the lipstick in the trash, saying that the lipstick found on the victims “is a very rare one: Lavender Love #66.”

As Gaspar enters the police station, his niece, Eva, approaches him and gives him his lunch. Gaspar sneezes on his way inside, and Eva slaps herself three times. Deuce helps her pick up the things she dropped, and Eva explains to Deuce that she has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Fish-enthusiast Deuce sees that she has a painting of a fish, so they go to the Amsterdam aquarium together.

Deuce continues to investigate different women from Antoine’s book. The clients include a woman named Svetlana who was born near Chernobyl and has a very active penis for a nose, a hunchbacked woman, a woman with a tracheotomy, and a woman with gigantic ears.

While visiting Eva, Deuce is snooping around and finds clothing similar to what was worn by the killer he saw on the night Hummer died. Deuce also finds Lavender Love #66 lipstick. Deuce rushes to the police department and tells Gaspar that he thinks Eva is the man-whore killer. Gaspar is reluctant to believe this, and even drops many hints that he himself is the man-whore killer, but Deuce remains clueless.

While Eva has uncovered the fact that her uncle is indeed the man-whore killer, Deuce rides with Gaspar to the Man-Whore Awards Ceremony under the guise of protecting the male prostitutes there. However, to Gaspar’s surprise, Eva is chasing them on a motorbike, and shouting at Deuce that Gaspar is the killer. Gaspar pulls a gun on Deuce and proceeds to tell him that, once, Gaspar was a man-whore hopeful. While Gaspar was observing a demonstration on how to perform a certain sex act, one of his classmates offered to let him use his penis-enlargement pump. When the demonstration ended, Gaspar was horrified to learn that the woman who was on the receiving end of the sex act was his fiancée. Gaspar became so angry that he continued to pump until his penis exploded. He blames man-whores for the loss of his fiancée and his penis, and plans to blow them all up at their awards ceremony.

At the ceremony, Deuce evacuates the building and gets into a fight with Gaspar. Gaspar beats Deuce, but before he can activate the bomb via a remote control, the woman with a penis for a nose and the woman with the tracheotomy help Deuce in taking out Gaspar. Deuce then picks up one of the scattered award trophies littering the floor and clobbers Gaspar in the back of the head, knocking him out cold and taking the bomb detonator from him.

For his bravery, Deuce is given the Golden Boner award – an explicit statue – and the respect of his fellow man-whores. He shares a passionate kiss with Eva, and accidentally sets off the bomb when the statue’s penis bumps the detonator button. Deuce and Eva then promptly leave the scene. The following day, Deuce and Eva come to pick up T.J., who has been released from jail, and tells them that he is entering a brand new prostitution market: gay man-whoring. They all walk off as the screen fades black.

REVIEW:

I loved the first film, as well as this type of humor. Sadly, critics apparently think that Schneider is a juvenile third rate comic and this film should never have been made. Phooey on them, I say!

Rob Schneider is one of the most underrated alums of Saturday Night Live.I don’t doubt that he would not have a film career without Adam Sandler, but he has emerged from the shadow to make a name of his own. Just look at the fact that this is a sequel to the highly successful Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Schenider maintains the same characteristics from the first film, but seems to have gained a bit of confidence.

Eddie Griffin also returns, but in a much bigger role. Though I am glad he is more prominently featured, his character is a bit annoying. Still, he still is hilarious and has great chemistry with Schneider.

Hanna Verboom is not a well known actress here in the states, but apparently she’s well known in the Netherlands. As Eva, Deuce’s love interest, she really shines, especially when she’s selling her OCD.

The plot may seem a bit odd to some people, but you have to remember this is a comedy, and not to be taken seriously. Those that do have something seriously wrong with them. The jokes are laugh out loud funny and easy to get. No, this isn’t the world’s greatest film, but it is enjoyable!

4 out of 5 stars