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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Bernie Mac

Friday (1995)

I guess the hood ain’t such a bad place to live after all.

Craig (Ice Cube) spends most of his days doing nothing, staying unemployed, and just trying to get by in life, constantly chilling with his boy Smokey (Chris Tucker). However, the day that comes between Thursday and Saturday hits and for some reason, there’s something different about the day that isn’t like every other one.

By the mid-90’s, the hood subgenre of film became a bit of a joke. The themes, the violence, the stereotypes, etc., had all been played-out so much so that by a point, there was even a Wayans spoof on it all. What once had been a reliably sad and effective genre of film-making, soon became a bit of a stale product, that only seemed to get worse with each and every attempt at creating something close to resembling Boyz N the Hood.

Every neighborhood’s got a dude like this.

Which is why, at the time, and of course, now Friday is such a breath of fresh air.

Sure, is it a “hood film”? Yeah, it is, but it’s a different kind of one. It doesn’t really try to lay down some life-altering message about getting out of the hood and making a better future for yourself, nor does it ever seem to try and ever take itself too seriously. If anything, it’s just a smooth, relaxed, and downright silly comedy about one day in the hood, where some good stuff, some bad stuff, and some wacky stuff happens in, of all places, the hood.

And yes, Friday works because of that; it’s a very chilled-out kind of movie that doesn’t rush itself, doesn’t have too much of a plot to really get going with, and it sure as heck isn’t running too long with its barely 90-minute run-time. And none of this is a bad thing, either – most comedies, like John Waters always says, should barely be 90 minutes and Friday works well for that reason. A lot of the gags are so quick and random, that they somehow just work and come together, because the movie doesn’t harp on them too much, just like it doesn’t slow itself down with jokes, either. And it all matters, too, because, well, the jokes are actually pretty funny in and of themselves.

Which is why it’s hard to go on and on about Friday without talking about the one and the only, Chris Tucker.

Gotta get down on….

I think it goes without saying that Tucker makes Friday as funny as it can get. He’s often the scene-stealer, using his high-pitched squeal and delivery to make any joke land, as well as seeming like the funniest guy in the room, amongst a pretty funny crowd. It’s not really known how many of his lines were scripted, or how much everyone involved just trusted him to do his thing, but whatever it was, it works and it’s because of Tucker that even when Friday seems to meander a bit too far away from itself (which it often does), it still comes together in the end.

Which isn’t meant to take away from everyone else here, but yeah, when compared to Tucker, it’s hard not to notice. For instance, Ice Cube plays the straight-man, and seems to be having fun, even though often times, his role seems to just be used as the protagonist we see everything through. John Witherspoon is also a lot of fun as his daddy and kept me laughing every single time he showed up but also provided a lot of insight into how daddy’s usually are with their older, bum-like children. Nia Long is also nice as, once again, the romantic love-interest in a hood flick, while such comedic-greats like Michael Clarke Duncan, Faizon Love, and Tiny Lister, and oh, of course, Bernie Mac, all show up, do their things and remind us why they’re so funny in the first place.

But where Friday doesn’t hold up for me (and granted, I have seen this movie about four-to-five times now), is that it’s direction is a bit sloppy, however, with good reason. At barely 25 years of age, F. Gary Gray took over Friday and seemed like he didn’t have to do all that much, but somehow, the movie is still a bit messy. The best aspect of the movie is how, for the longest time, there’s really no plot and nothing needing to drive it by, but by the end, all of a sudden, there’s a plot, there’s a serious conflict, and there’s a, unfortunately, message that we’re all supposed to learn from. If anything, it feels lame, tired and annoying, and it seemed to only happen because Gray was just getting started and needed to get his foot in somewhere.

Thankfully, he did.

Consensus: Even with a slightly amateurish direction, Friday still works because of its odd gags, relaxed, yet pleasing tone, and of course, the exciting cast, led by a stand-out performance from Tucker.

8.5 / 10

Damn, indeed.

Photos Courtesy of: Filmaholic Reviews

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Soul Men (2008)

How many times can you say “mother****er” and still have it be funny each and every time?

Louis (Samuel L Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) were part of a popular singing duo back in the day, but both went their separate ways and never spoke again. When the death of their former group leader (John Legend) reunites them and sends them driving cross country for a tribute concert at the legendary Apollo Theatre, they will have only five days to bury the hatchet on a 20-year-old grudge.

If there’s any reason as to why you’d bother with Soul Men, it has to be because you want to see one of Bernie Mac’s final movies. Apparently, Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac were friends for a couple of decades before this movie came out and just wanted to be in a film together for the longest time, and you can totally tell why because they have amazing chemistry here. Every chance they get together on-screen, it’s like magic working between two buddies that never seems to end and they always have something to say to each other, no matter how crude or rude it may be.

Move over, John. Let Sammy and Bernie take over!

Move over, John. Let Sammy and Bernie take over!

Which is to say that a lot of it is definitely ad-libbed as they go on non-stop rants using “mother****er” about 50 or so times (that is not an exaggeration either, people), and that’s what adds a lot of comedy to this film. There were many times where I found myself laughing really hard, other times I found myself chuckling, and other times I just felt myself smiling because I was seeing two buddies work together like they always wanted to, and having an absolute blast with it. Seriously, if it wasn’t for these two guys, this movie would have totally, and I do repeat, totally would have sucked, but because they’re together and making an absolute blast out of it, it’s worth watching.

But it’s not always these two guys together and that’s perhaps the biggest issue with Soul Men.

Since Soul Men is a tale about two older dudes on the road to a concert, we get a lot of blabbering, yelling, screaming, hootin’, and hollerin’ between the two which is relatively amusing at first because it’s these two guys doing it and they always make it entertaining to watch, but then it just goes on and on and on until the film really seems like it’s running out of ideas. A good boner joke is nice to have about two or three times when you have a movie about old dudes that are trying to stay hip and with it, but seriously, when you get to the point of when you have it up to a total of twelve jokes in a 90-minute movie, then you’re just shooting more for the teen-comedy crowd and not the type that would actually venture out to see a Mac/Jackson comedy about two old guys.

As with most movies that revolve around a band, and or, music in general, the soundtrack here is pretty solid with a couple of memorable tunes that pop in and out from time-to-time, as well as some original ones that sound like covers and are all pretty nice and fun to listen to, but don’t really do anything for the movie. Most of them sound unoriginal and although Mac and Jackson sing all of the songs with their terrible voices, they’re never actually played-up for laughs. Instead of the songs actually being a bit goofy and humorous at how bad these guys blow, they play it too seriously and every song-sequence goes on for way too long without any jokes involved whatsoever.

Jackets don't get any prettier than that!

Green suit-jackets don’t get any prettier than that!

It gets even worse once the film begins to get sympathetic by the end and the really lose itself as it just feels uneven. If a comedy wants to play it nice and sweet by the end, there’s no problem with that. However, with Soul Men, it felt forced. Revelations come out as if they were working their way into the story the whole time and a certain character that’s supposed to mean something to both of these guys, doesn’t really do anything and is sort of forgotten about once that character leaves the screen.

I’m not trying to spoil anything, but does it really matter?

Probably the strangest fact about this movie is not only how Bernie Mac died after filming just wrapped-up, but also how Issac Hayes, who also shows up here, died exactly a day after him. That’s right Chef was a goner right after Mac, and at the end of the movie they sort of touch on this fact in a very well-done, and emotionally-charged tribute to the two and it actually got me a bit misty-eyed. This tribute was probably the highlight of this flick and definitely seemed like it got more attention to it, than the actual film itself and it’s shame that Mac and Hayes had to go out on something like this because even though the movie’s not horrible to watch, you still can’t help but feel like these two deserved something better to use as a swan song and have people remember why they were so loved in the first place.

Either way, R.I.P you two soul men.

Consensus: Despite there being a great chemistry between Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac, Soul Men still flounders underneath its own weight of sentimentality and a lack of actual fun, interesting ideas to roll with its story.

5 / 10

RIP you two on the left. You on the right, however, keep doing what you're doing. Like cursing. A lot.

RIP you two on the left. You on the right, however, keep doing what you’re doing. Like cursing. A lot.

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

God, I wish I was as cool as these guys. I seriously do.

Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New Jersey penitentiary, the wry, charismatic thief is already rolling out his next plan. Following three rules – don’t hurt anybody, don’t steal from anyone who doesn’t deserve it and play the game like you’ve got nothing to lose – Danny orchestrates the most sophisticated, elaborate casino heist in history. This is where the fun begins in Ocean’s eyes, and you know what? His eyes do not deceive him a single-bit.

Heist flicks are and have always been a favorite of mine, and to feature a cast with the likes of Clooney, Damon, Cheadle, Pitt, Mac, Reiner, and even Affleck (Casey, that is), you know I was even more excited because it seemed like the perfect-opportunity for a bunch of guys to just pal-around, have a good time, and pull-off some neat-o heists. However, just to make sure that this isn’t one, long bro-sesh from start-to-finish, we got Steven Soderbergh at the helm to keep everything under control and honestly, what better man to do that then the guy who has made one of the greatest heist/crime flicks of all-time, Out of Sight? Well, you could probably argue Tarantino or Scorsese, or plenty of others, but if you were to really get down to the nitty-gritty of it, I think you would be pretty damn fine with having Soderbergh behind it all, because I definitely was.

Having a guy like Steven Soderbergh doing your film means one thing and one thing only: it’s going to have a crap-load of style. And that’s not really a bad thing at all, because with a generic and relatively conventional story like this, you need that to add more pizzazz and spice to the whole-product, even though it’s obviously apparent that’s what Soderbergh is relying on the most. However, it didn’t get in the way of material and you can’t help but just love the fact that Soderbergh gives the flick a more-polished look than you are used to seeing with heists, but also realize that it makes the setting it takes place-in, all the more beautiful and smoother in it’s own, coolio way. Soderbergh is the man of being cool, looking cool, and filming cool, and he was definitely the perfect-choice for material like this.

Yes, that is Carl Reiner right next to Bernie Mac.

Yes, that is Carl Reiner right next to Bernie Mac. Somewhere, the comedic-gods are smiling.

There’s also a great-deal of fun and entertainment that Soderbergh brings to this flick and it’s not just all about the style, either, it’s more about the actual heist itself, and keeping you constantly wondering, guessing, and figuring-out how it’s all going to play-out in your mind and on-screen. Soderbergh definitely does a little-job of trickery here and there with this heist and the twists and turns it takes, but that just adds more to the overall enjoyment of what we all see and it’s perfect since everything until then, was all just one, big lead-up to what was going to go down. We see bits and pieces of how this heist is going to go down, but not enough, so that when the heist does go through and we see everything that goes-down, we’re not only surprised, but pretty gripped to our seat, as you don’t really know how it’s going to turn-out for this cats in the end. Sooderbergh has as much fun with this as his cast does, but by doing-so, he allows us to just revel in his enjoyment in making the material and it’s no surprise that the guy came-back for 2 more of these flicks. However, more on them later as the reviews keep on coming, so just you wait DTMMR readers/follows out there!

Topping-off this cake of coolness, with a sweet, little cherry on-top is the cast that is filled to the brim with the coolest mofo’s on the planet, and some, you have yet to even know are cool just yet. George Clooney is the brains behind the whole operation as Danny Ocean and is cool, lean, and suave, exactly as we know and love him to be. Clooney sort of takes the background in this flick and allows the rest of his cast to show-off and do their thing, but whenever he gets a chance to show why he’s so cool, he does it with perfection. Damn that George Clooney. Playing the “other” brains behind the operation is Brad Pitt as Rusty Ryan, a dude that knows it all, can walk the walk, and talk the talk. Pitt’s good at playing cool and smart, we all know him for that, and we all love him for that. ‘Nuff said about that. Matt Damon is the new-blood of the gang and does a great-job at playing up that cocky-rookie look to him, while also being able to put-up, when shut-up time is right there, in front of his face. Not the most memorable performance from Damon but the guy sure as hell can act and make any role, seem like the perfect-fit for him.

Playing the opposite-side of these fast-cats is Andy Garcia, aka, the guy who owns the casino that they are robbing, Terry Benedict. Garcia is a tough-guy that you really feel like can’t be out-smarted, no matter who the person/people doing the out-smarting are. Garcia’s got a lot of intimidating-looks in those eyes and you never quite know if he’s going to pull-off the win in the end, or just give it to Ocean’s dudes. Once again, it’s a tense-ride to the finish that you never quite know where it’s going to end-up or how, for that matter. Julia Roberts is fine as Benedict’s gal/Ocean’s ex-gal, but does her usual, “I’m-Julia-Roberts-And-My-Shit-Don’t-Stink” act that some love her for, some hate her for, and some are just tired and bored of her for playing so much. Me, I linger somewhere around the latter and as juicy and spicy as the scenes with Clooney may be, her character is still Julia Roberts, playing Julia Roberts.

Everybody else in this cast is pretty damn fine as you’ll see a crap-load of familiar faces pop-up, do their thing, and be done with it and continue onto the road. Seriously, everybody is good except for Don Cheadle as Basher, who is supposed to be channeling this wry, British-accent that goes in-and-out like a you know what, and is even more distracting to this character, because every time he’s talking, it just sounds like Don Cheadle trying hard to sound British. And yes, Cheadle does have a very distinctive voice that is easy to point-out as to when it’s real, when it’s being fake, and when it’s trying to be British. Oh well, I guess this cat needed to have one bad performance to throw in there for his whole filmography. Bastard.

Arms crossed = cool

Arms crossed = cool

As fun and exciting as this flick may be, you really do just end the film, happy as a fly, and continue on with your day as if nothing happened. In a way, that’s not such a terrible thing to have in life, considering it’s a happy-thought, but in other ways, it’s a bit of a disappointment  considering the cast and crew that was on-display here. Yes, it’s fun, exciting, and entertaining for the 2 hours it’s alive and well on the big-screen, but other than that, you don’t have much else to really hold you over or make you think of anything afterwards either. I don’t know, maybe I was just expecting a bit too much more than I was given, but I definitely feel like there should have been more for me to seize-onto at the end, no matter how conventional or obvious it was trying to be.

Consensus: Ocean’s Eleven is no game-changer in terms of heist movies, but is still entertaining, fun, exciting, well-acted, and just really, really cool, almost to the point of where you feel cool for watching it but you soon realize, that you’re just a poor college student who drives a 2005 Scion, and has about $20 in your wallet as you speak. Yeah, I’m speaking from my point-of-view, but if only I wasn’t. If only dreams really could come true, after all.

8.5/10=Matinee!!

Can grow a way better porn 'stache than Ben. Suck it bigger brothers out there!

Can grow a way better porn ‘stache than Ben. Suck it, Big Ben!

Countdown to Claus: Bad Santa (2003)

Good old mall Santas. Beating the crap out of teenagers.

Criminals Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) and Marcus (Tony Cox) disguise themselves as Santa Claus and his elf and travel across the country to major malls, using the good will people have toward Santa to rob the mall stores blind. The problem is, Willie can’t stand kids. Their plan still progresses beautifully until the two reprobates meet an introverted 8-year-old boy who reminds them of the true meaning of Christmas.

To many people out in the world, Christmas is a time to spend with your friends and family, thinking of gifts and sharing them with others. This film is not the one for those kind of jolly people.

Director Terry Zwigoff is pretty good at making these laughs very dark and ones you almost sort of feel bad for laughing at in the first place. It’s a very funny film in that almost everything you see and hear is very twisted in its own right but that’s not to say that everything is dark and not for anybody. The humor is relatively juvenile and it’s not for any type of intellect out there to realize that this Santa is a total dick.

Although there is a lot of crass and dark humor, the films starts to reveal some heart to it. The story between the little fat kid and Willie starts off rather annoying but as time goes on, it gets a lot more sweeter and even though I knew this is where the film was trying to go, I really did feel like it was earned rather than forced. This whole story goes on with a bunch of swearing, sarcasm, booze, and anger so for it to actually get a little bit of a sweet story about a kid who needs a “daddy figure”, felt like a nice little moral side that works for the flick.

My problem with this film is that I feel like there were so many opportunities where they could have capitalized a little bit more on this rather than just spending the last 20 minutes to really focus on it. The story was right there in front of their faces and they kind of just let it go the whole time without ever really acknowledging it until it obviously seemed necessary. Also, the little fling that Willie has with a hot and sexy chick named Sue (Lauren Graham) seemed a little too weird how she was all obsessed with Santa and just the way she acted had me a little creeped out by here, but she was still smokin’.

As the film goes on, the story started off a little bit ridiculous then it starts to get more and more unbelievable, which I know is weird considering I’m talking about a film where a dude is dressed up like Santa goes and robs malls, but I still couldn’t get by it. I never understood just how Willie and Marcus got away with all of these robberies if they kept posing as the same guys throughout every mall they went to. Wouldn’t somebody eventually realize that these guys are stealing from every mall they go to and try to put out a notice? Another problem with this flick is that I never understood why Willie didn’t just go back to his hotel after he waited all of that time for the “cops” to get out of there. However, I guess I’m just being a dick once again.

Billy Bob Thornton probably gives one of his best comedic performances of all-time as Willie. Willie is an alcoholic, pisses in his suit, shows up to work drunk, lies, steals money, steals cars, beats up children, treats some poor little chubby kid like a piece of crap, and bones chicks in the parking lots (not saying that there’s anything wrong with that) but somehow Thornton makes this guy seem so likable. He’s just drunk the whole time being an obnoxious dick to everyone around him but Billy Bob plays it perfectly and I just wished that he would get more roles that were more about him being a low-life dick rather than a sophisticated, more civilized dick.

Tony Cox is very fun to watch as Marcus, because not only does his character get a little dark by the end but him and Thornton have great chemistry together that carries on perfectly throughout the whole film. The rest of the cast includes Bernie Mac playing a cocky mall cop, Cloris Leachman playing a Grandmom who just wants to make sandwiches, and the late John Ritter playing a nosy mall manager.

Consensus: Though there are some moral voids in Bad Santa, there is still some very funny black comedy that works well with the plot, and with Billy Bob Thornton’s dark but somehow likable performance as Willie.

8/10=Matinee!!

Transformers (2007)

Or, as I like to call it, “GIANT ROBOTS TEARIN’ UP SHIT!”

This film finds the planet Cybertron inhabitants engaging in a secret war for control of Earth’s natural resources, which they desperately need for fuel. But much of the action centers on young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), an unlikely hero whose first car turns out to be an Autobot and helps him win over his dream girl (Megan Fox).

There’s a little story somewhere in this film, with characters but you know coming into this film that’s not what you want. You want action, and you want it now! Michael Bay knows it too.

Bay is the absolute king at burning off people’s brain cells over the course of two hours, and he does not back down once from showing of his “art” in this film. Bay knows how to film action and make some incredibly awesome-looking action scenes while being able to actually tell what’s going on. Even while staring deeply at the screen it’s impossible to see how the cars become robots and vice versa. It’s exactly as fast and as confusing as it should and would be. This is Bay in top form and I won’t go as far as to say that this is a master-piece by any stretch of the imagination, but Bay does a stellar job here and makes this film totally entertaining.

This is also incredibly funny and silly with good reason because it’s not really trying to be anything else. I actually caught myself laughing a lot at this material, and not your typical bad action-humor, it’s the humor that will actually have you laughing and wondering was that supposed to be funny. There are also some nice in-jokes for the fans.

It’s crazy that this was adapted from a bunch of action figures and people who grew up in the 80’s will probably get that nostalgia appeal and even for me, who wasn’t a really big fan of Transformers found this actually really fun and cool. The problem with this film is that I could see a lot of people hating this because it’s nothing more than just a loud and insane action film. Also, it’s probably about an hour too long. I liked the whole epic last 30 minutes but the film goes on a bit way too long and the story kind of drags a bit.

The human parts in this film, as well as the story, are kind of weak but I still didn’t mind them as much. Shia LaBeouf is good as the nerdy but funny Sam Witwicky and contributes a lot to the character’s key likability; Megan Fox is just there to look sexy and that’s fine; Josh Duhamel does that tough llok on his face a lot the whole film, but he’s not so bad either. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty good too with the likes of Anthony Anderson, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Jon Voight, and the comedic legend that is, Bernie Mac. Good cast, even though the story isn’t really too dependent on them after all.

Consensus: Though it may be too loud and noisy for some viewers, Transformers is a Michael Bay action show with fireworks, robots fighting robots, shooting, exploding, running, chasing, hitting, special effects all-over-the-place, and everything a good action film needs to keep everybody entertained even if you aren’t a huge fan of the original material.

7/10=Rental!!

Pride (2007)

Makes Michael Phelps look like a bitch.

Coach Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) changes lives and shocks his Philadelphia community when, aided by a janitor (Bernie Mac), he sets out to form the city’s first black swim team. The story follows Ellis as he recruits teens in one of Philly’s toughest areas and transforms the streetwise youths into a championship squad. But the odds are against them as they battle rigid rules and racism.

I use to be a lifeguard and in order to become one for my small community, I actually had to go through some swimming lessons. Not an easy task people.

The one point that Pride gets right off it’s chest in the beginning, is the racial tensions within sports, mainly swimming. I have seen so many African-American takes on plenty of sports, like football, basketball, and even baseball. But swimming? I have never seen this take on swimming before, and I must say it kept me really involved because there was a lot of entertaining moments in this film.

However, the main problem with this film is that it does follow just about every sports cliche you have ever seen in any sports film. There is a lot of those racism points you would come to expect from a film like this, and none of them were really any different from what I have seen before. You get some cheesy moments here and there, but not too many to ruin your time with this film.

I think I just liked the overall pace and feel of this movie. It is very inspirational and works well, but not once does it actually say that these African-Americans are more special than any other human being. You don’t deserve respect right away, you earn it, and I liked that element of this film because it is less preachy than I would have expected. Also, the swimming scenes will keep you involved and actually having a good time despite the cliches.

Terrence Howard is the man in almost everything he does and his performance as Jim Ellis here, is no different. He’s sweet, subtle, and overall a believable guy. Howard doesn’t turn him into a saint-like man, he’s just a complex and complicated guy that just loves to swim, and wants nothing more but to live out his dream with this team. Bernie Mac also shines as Elston and provides a lot of the funnier moments here, proving that he always was a comedy legend. Kimberly Elise is also very good here as Sue Davis, who at first seems like she’ll be terribly unlikable, but soon starts to see what this swim team is doing for the community. Then, that’s when we start to like her. The rest of the cast of several unknowns is actually very good, and handle their roles very well, as well give each character their own personalities.

Consensus: Pride may have its numerous amount of cliches and predictability, but features stellar performances from the cast, and will give you that inspirational feel to it, as it should.

6/10=Rental!!

Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood (1996)

Not one of the best parodies of all-time, but funny none the less.

Ashtray (Shawn Wayans) moves to South Central Los Angeles to live with his father (who appears to be no older than he) and dope-smoking grandmother. He falls in with his gang-banging cousin Loc Dog (Marlon Wayans), who counts a thermonuclear warhead in his arsenal of weapons. Will Ashtray keep living the straight life, or will he join up with Loc Dog’s gangsta homeboys?

I cannot lie when I say this, but I love almost all parody films. There are certain ones, that just are drop-dead terrible, and don’t look like their even trying, but when they do, I give them credit. This is one that deserves credit.

I liked a lot of the jokes they made in this film, however, some of it did annoy me. The spoofing is very, very obvious, which kind of takes away from the joke, because the idea with spoof films, is to think what movie their from, and basically here, it’s literally right in front of your face, so a lot of the fun is lost. Also, plenty, and I do repeat plenty of gags fell short, or just felt weak, and over-used.

The gags though were funny, when used correctly, and  a lot of the silly willy jokes they used here, were even funnier. They spoof films from Boyz N The Hood, to Menace II Society, and to Do the Right Thing, and each spoof is funny it’s own way, and I’m sure the people involved with those movies, must of had a great laugh watching their films be made fun of.

Some people will feel violated, and down-right disgusted with the jokes, but hey that’s what it’s all about, sometimes the funniest things in films, are the down-right disgusting. Watch this with a bunch of your friends if your bored, and see if you don’t start laughing, or talking like you are from the hood.

Marlon and Shawn Wayans do great jobs at playing these two funny as hell, black ghetto stereotypes, and never stop at once from backing down. There are also other little cameos, and supporting acts you may notice like Vivica A. Fox, Bernie Mac, and Keenan Wayans, and plenty others that are just funny as hell.

Consensus: Though many gags fall short, Don’t Be a Menace is 90 minutes of pure humor, wit, and satirical fun, that will make you want to watch any of the hood movies, this film is parodying.

7/10=Rental!!!

What’s The Worst That Could Happen? (2001)

Basically a title that defines its self.

Wealthy Max Fairbanks (Danny DeVito) wakes one night to find Kevin Caffery (Martin Lawrence) robbing his house. Max swipes Kevin’s lucky ring and claims it as his own when he reports the crime. Afraid he can’t pull off another job without his lucky charm, the thief starts an escalating war with the billionaire to get it back.

Just once, I’d like to see a Donald Westlake novel adapted with half the wit of the original book. Instead, they just mine his rich storyline for cheap jokes and throw away the priceless characterizations, substituting them for dumb and dumber. Are these filmmakers all stupid, or do they assume we are?

The writing here is just drop dead terrible. Honestly, there is probably a funny joke every 30 minutes, and its not even that good. The film relies way too heavily on slapstcik, sex, and of course the rest of all, fart jokes. Yes, my friends there are actually of course fart jokes in this Martin Lawrence PG-13 comedy.

The film is directed so awkwardly with ideas that this film wants to do so they just put it out there. Like a model wanting to become a news journalist, Lawrence and John Leguizamo dressing up as Arabs, and cursing on live TV. The way this movie is paced, is the awkward part cause at times the film moves fast, then slows, and then slows again to a point of where I’m going to fall asleep.

The biggest problem with this film is that its characters really are nobody. DeVito in almost every role he is given, basically shines except for this one and is just a rich bastard that you really wouldn’t like to be around. Lawrence makes the biggest mistake of trying to be too funny when there is really nothing to work with, so he goes into these random bursts of dance and improvisation, and all of it just seems random. John Leguizamo and Bernie Mac actually bring out some laughs in this film by the end with their charisma but can’t stop this film from falling.

Consensus: Basically a title that sums it all up, with terrible writing, awkward pacing mostly from the poor direction, and characters that couldn’t be liked no matter how charming the performances were.

1/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!!!

Life (1999)

Finally these two all-stars meet up but in a jail.

It’s 1932; Ray (Eddie Murphy) is a small-time hustler, and Claude Banks (Martin Lawrence) is a bank teller with a taste for gambling. When Ray picks Claude’s pocket to pay off a debt, the two men are framed and land in the same jail for 60 years; trouble is, they can’t stand each other! Stuck in a work camp, they hope to be proved innocent someday — if they don’t kill each other in the meantime.

I first heard about this film and was interested in seeing it cause it had my two favorite African-American comedians finally together in a movie. I was just expecting on-going laughs from these great actors, and although I got that the story of this film was a lot more than I was even thinking about.

However, this movie has an inherent sadness to it. These two men have their dreams crushed and are trapped in prison their entire lives. And yet they always remain hopeful about getting out and starting their lives. It creates a weird balance in the movie between the comic and the tragic.

Life started to lose me cause I think the way the whole film acted around it’s setting didn’t seem like the place for comedic effect. The Louisiana prison they are sentenced to, the future there isn’t so bright and many moments are very serious but aren’t taken very seriously, and that’s what kind of threw me off this film. I think this story could’ve really worked if it was used in a 1999 prison instead a 1930’s one.

I liked the comedy though even without the serious parts. I felt like the comedy does get a little over-the-top, but overall succeeds in making you laugh. I enjoyed how the jokes weren’t really centered towards racism and crime jokes and they stood up between mature and sometimes immature.

Lawrence and Murphy really do shine in this film however. I hear that they didn’t really like their Director Ted Demme, but he must have done something to them cause they give out great little performances here. This is very different from a lot of their other work, because it has more of a serious side to it, but they do take the ball and run with this film every scene they get. There are also little supporting characters in this film that are good that feature Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Anthony Anderson, and if you don’t blink you can catch Ned Beatty.

Consensus: Life is set-up in a very strange way, but features great performances from Lawrence and Murphy, and a great life lesson on love and friendship.

7/10=Rentalll!!!