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Black Beauty

Patient: Undercover Brother

Profile: Hilarious spoof/send-up/lampoon/parody/take-off on blaxploitation films. This one is about an African-American secret agent whose head, especially hair, is stuck in the '70s. Rich with jokes about malt liquor, fried chicken and nappy hair, it's the kind of dead-on, laugh-out-loud silly stupid stuff that will make you bust a gut. White people are advised to temper their laughter, especially during the bits about malt liquor, fried chicken and nappy hair, if they would like to avoid having their guts busted for them. Think I'm Gonna Git You Sucka! meets Austin Powers meets Pootie Tang meets Hollywood Shuffle meets The Unbearable Whiteness of Being. Symptoms: The reason this movie is so good is the reason Pootie Tang—God bless it—was so good. It not only embraces the badges of the genre it skewers, but it is also laser-like in its portrayals of the shallow way African-American characters have been treated by Hollywood. But funny. That's the key. Like Pootie, Undercover never takes anything too seriously, always goes for the joke, and realizes that when going for the joke, you can never go wrong with big afros. There's just something about them, which explains why, at one time, Bernie from Room 222 was nailing more tail than Isaac Hayes. The only criticism I have of the movie is that its villain is just not funny enough. In a movie populated by two-dimensional stereotypical characters, he comes off as flat. Played by Chris Kattan, who I like, the villain is kinda funny; you just keep waiting for him to be funnier—you know, the same feeling you get watching Tim Allen or Orrin Hatch.
Script Doctor Diagnosis: Every bit as funny as Pootie Tang and twice as hilarious as Austin Powers and Eyes Wide Shut. Prescription: As Austin Powers proved, a great comic villain is a great draw. Just be sure to make him blundering, ineffective, borderline retarded—you know, like the President of the United States. You want to stay away from making him a quasi-sadistic thug harboring a lot of rage perhaps because of his closely guarded homosexual feelings that come out in spurts of cruelty—you know, like the Vice President of the United States. Still, great job. In fact, others should learn from Undercover Brother so that someday we'll see other films about other groups who've received poor treatment from Hollywood. Groups such as Native Americans, Latinos, Eurasians, women who enjoy sex, hookers, hookers with hearts of gold, hookers with kids, kid hookers, T.J. Hooker, cops two days away from retirement, soft-spoken guys going on patrol to see "what's making all that noise," Liza Minnelli, quasi-gay rasta-like aliens directed by George Lucas, Mexicans played by Robbie Benson, Native Americans played by Robbie Benson, basketball players played by Robbie Benson, anyone played by Keanu Reeves.


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