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Head of State

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Head of State

Starring: Chris Rock, Bernie Mac
Director: Chris Rock
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: March 2003
Genre: Comedy


*Also starring: Tamala Jones, Lynn Whitfield, Dylan Baker, Jude Ciccolella, Robin Givens, Nick Searcy, Tracy Morgan, James Rebhorn



Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Writer/comedian Chris Rock makes his directorial debut with this political satire in which a previously unknown Washington, D.C. alderman is suddenly picked to run for President of the United States. Narrated by rapper Nate Dogg, the concept is clever but the execution falters.

Rock stars as Mays Gilliam, a hard-working, streetwise politician whose duplicitous girl-friend (Robin Givens) ditches him and whose bad neighborhood is about to get worse when, impulsively, he rescues an elderly lady from a burning building. As a local hero, his photograph appears in the newspaper just as both Presidential candidates die when their planes collide. Knowing his party's destined to lose the election, sleazy Sen. Arnot (James Rebhorn), who has his own eye on the White House in 2008, cynically chooses this naive African-American to head the doomed ticket. Stunned, Mays accepts the challenge and his life is taken over by a campaign manager (Dylan Baker), political consultant (Lynn Whitfield) and carnal-diversion staffer (Stephanie Mansfield). He delivers their staid, ambiguous speeches until, inevitably, he rebels, coining a slogan, "That Ain't Right," and adding his pugilistic older brother (Bernie Mac) as a running-mate. Mays' opponent is the incumbent Vice-President (Nick Searcy) who keeps repeating that he's Sharon Stone's cousin, a gag that's futile without at least a cameo from the sexy actress. But that's not the only missed opportunity. The silly script is weighted down with clich‚s, including the hackneyed conversion of uptight, white people into hip-hop dancers. Even Mays' new romantic interest (Tamala Jones) is tepid. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Head of State" is a faltering, forgettable 5. Chris Rock deserves better than this bland banality.

Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger

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