Why wait another two months for GOLDMEMBER, when you can see an Austin Powers
film now? Although UNDERCOVER BROTHER, the second film by director Spike Lee's
cousin Malcolm D. Lee, doesn't actually have Mike Myers, it does have a
hilarious Eddie Griffin as Anton Jackson, a.k.a. Undercover Brother. Undercover
Brother is a blend of Austin Powers, James Bond, Napoleon Solo, Shaft and even a
little touch of Maxwell Smart.
A takeoff on the 1970's blaxploitation comedies, the story, which is set firmly
in the twenty-first century, has the good sense to never take itself seriously,
even for a moment. The plot concerns a battle between a nefarious white
organization called Multinational, Inc, led by a mysterious and evil person
known only as "The Man" and a band of good black guys called the
B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., who fight for "truth, justice and the Afro-American
The Man says things to inflame like, "I want the White House to stay white."
Undercover Brother, on the other hand, keeps his lingo to simple clichés like
"Solid," "Right on!" and "I can dig it." Among Undercover Brother's many gadgets
are elevator shoes that really live up to their name. He also has a watch with
a secret compartment that can make "Caucasian food" palatable by shooting hot
sauce on it.
The strong supporting cast includes Billy Dee Williams as a brainwashed general
who gives up his presidential ambitions to found a chicken chain. Yes, the
general's chicken. Must be one rank better.
Denise Richards plays Penelope Snow, a.k.a. White She Devil. In her best
performance since STARSHIP TROOPERS, Richards, who has enough blonde hair for a
dozen mops, camps it up so well that you'll be hoping that she'll get a part in
the next CHARLIE'S ANGELS film. She plays a secret weapon, the sexy white woman
who is "black men's kryptonite." Snow doesn't win the hair race. Undercover
Brother has an Afro that looks like an exploding bush.
Richard's female costar is Chris Kattan. I know this because the movie's poster
features Undercover Brother and his two, sexy female companions. Under their
picture and above the title, it clearly lists only three names: Eddie Griffin,
Chris Kattan and Denise Richards. Although you may think that Kattan has never
looked so good, the other female lead is actually Aunjanue Ellis, who plays
Sistah Girl. Kattan (CORKY ROMANO) does manage not to sink the show, something
that I feared going into it. Among other members of the cast is a funny Neil
Patrick Harris ("Doogie Howser, M.D."), who plays the token white in the
UNDERCOVER BROTHER can be the answer to one of those movie trivia games. If
you're ever asked to name an anti-mayo movie, remember that UNDERCOVER BROTHER
is a correct answer, perhaps the only correct answer. (Snow tortures Jackson by
forcing him to eat a big glob of that quintessential white food item --
mayonnaise.) And, if you're asked to name a movie that is both silly and fun,
UNDERCOVER BROTHER is a good reply.
UNDERCOVER BROTHER runs a fast 1:19. It is rated PG-13 for "language, sexual
humor, drug content and campy violence" and would be acceptable for kids around
12 and up.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes