Pressurised by the network bosses, black television writer Pierre Delacroix (Damon Wayans) is forced into writing a racist comedy show. At first clueless about how to approach the project, he eventually, with the help of his young assistant Sloan (Jada Pinkett), manages to come up with the most racist and obscene show imaginable: 'Mantan - The New Millennium Minstrel Show'. However, Delacroix is unprepared for what follows; the show, featuring a blackface hero called Mantan (Savion Glover) and his sidekick Sleep 'n' Eat, becomes the most popular thing on television.
is that rarity in Hollywood cinema, a sharp but subtle satire by Spike Lee, America's most important black director. A TV producer trying to expose the racism of his corporation conceives an idea for a new show. It's back to the Black and White Minstrels
, reincarnated in glorious colour. He can't believe it when his ironic suggestion is taken up by the company and becomes a huge hit. Lee manages to show us just what's wrong with stereotypes of blacks, and yet acknowledge just how easily even black people themselves can be seduced by them. It's a pity about the ending, which explodes in a hail of bullets, quite inappropriately for such a film, but up till then there are plenty of laughs and much food for thought.
On the DVD: the many extras include Lee's informative audio commentary on the film and a 50-minute "making of" documentary, plus 10 scenes deleted from the final version, some posters, a couple of music videos and the theatrical trailer. --Ed Buscombe