out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Head of State
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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