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Juwanna Mann

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Juwanna Mann

Starring: Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Tommy Davidson
Director: Jesse Vaughan
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: June 2002
Genres: Comedy, Sports

*Also starring: Ginuwine, Vivica Fox, Lil' Kim, Kevin Pollak, Kim Wayans, Annie Corley

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

In Jesse Vaughan's comedy, JUWANNA MANN, Miguel A. Nez Jr. plays Juwanna Mann, the new star of the women's basketball league, the WUBA. The twist is that Juwanna Mann, as Jamal Jeffries, used to be the most arrogant star in the NBA. He was an NBA superstar with his own autograph stamp until he told off his coach ("You may call the shots, but I'm making the shots.") and then took off all his clothes and threw them into the stands during a league game. After that, the NBA told him to take a hike.

As the story gets in gear, Jamal, as Juwanna, joins the Charlotte Banshees of the WUBA, where he discovers the joys of cross-dressing. He can pat other player's butts and ogle the women in the dressing room. The script, mercifully, avoids the cruder aspects of this voyeurism. Instead, it makes Juwanna into the sensitive human being that the obnoxious Jamal never was.

Since Nez demonstrates limited comic talent, it is lucky that Kevin Pollak (THE USUAL SUSPECTS) was cast as Lorne Daniels, Jamal and Juwanna's agent. As the story's straight man, Pollak gets some of the biggest laughs. Lorne worries that, after the scam is discovered, his career as a sports agent will be over and that he'll end up "booking clowns at birthday parties."

Once in the WUBA, Juwanna quickly goes from a classic ball hog to the world's greatest passer. Think the Banshees will go on to the championship? Think Juwanna's real sex will be discovered? And do you think that Jamal's crush on Michelle Langford (Vivica A. Fox, INDEPENDENCE DAY), the team's captain, will ever amount to anything? Got them all right? I thought so. Once again, you learn that you too could be a screenwriter. If you ever do become one, please don't include a long and clunky ending like the one in JUWANNA MANN, which forces the audience to fidget through ten pseudo-serious minutes while waiting for the ending credits and the deleted scenes montage to break the audience's awkward silence.

JUWANNA MANN runs 1:31. It is rated PG-13 for "language and sex-related material" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ** 1/2. He thought the movie was generally funny, but he hated Puff Smokey Smoke (Tommy Davidson), the gold-toothed rapper who had the hots for Juwanna. He found that character quite distasteful.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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