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Undercover Brother

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Undercover Brother

Starring: Eddie Griffin, Denise Richards
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 88 Minutes
Release Date: May 2002
Genres: Action, Comedy

*Also starring: Dave Chappelle, Chris Kattan, Aunjanue Ellis, Neil Patrick Harris, Billy Dee Williams, James Brown, Chi McBride

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

Blaxploitation films were big in the '70s and, slowly, that genre is drifting back into contemporary culture. Quentin Tarantino did "Jackie Brown," while Samuel L. Jackson personified a new "Shaft." Now director Malcolm D. Lee (Spike Lee's cousin) and co-writer John Ridley add a bit of "Austin Powers" attitude with a fillip of Bruce Lee's kung-fu to come up with a satirical riff that's filled with racial humor. Wearing a mighty Afro, platform shoes and shiny snakeskin pants, Eddie Griffin stars as Anton Jackson, a ghetto Robin Hood, who's recruited by sexy Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis) to join B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., a super-secret society for the preservation of '70s African-American culture, led by The Chief (Chi McBride of TVs "Boston Public"). Their nemesis is The Man (Robert Trumbull), who is determined to keep black culture down and whose influence is so great that even a Colin Powell-like General (Billy Dee Williams) gives up a run for the U.S. presidency in favor of opening a fried-chicken franchise: "The General's nappy meal!" As Undercover Brother, Anton works with Sistah Girl, Smart Brother (Gary Anthony Williams), Conspiracy Brother (Dave Chappelle) and Lance, a white intern (Neil Patrick Harris), The Chief's nod to "affirmative action," to infiltrate The Man's evil organization to prevent further damage. "If you're going to pass in white America, you must like mayonnaise," he's instructed. But they don't figure on seductive Penelope Snow a.k.a. White She Devil (Denise Richards), a blond temptress whom Mr. Feather (Chris Kattan), The Man's white supremacist enforcer, dubs "black man's kryptonite." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Undercover Brother" is a campy, silly 6. "Holy Motown!" Mockery may be the funkiest form of flattery.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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