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A one sided comedy lacking any humour
on 18 December 2013
For me the comedy value of the film is summed up by the poorly written scene where the lead character of Mark tries to hide the fact he is now 'black' from his Parents, while trying to keep them from seeing the promiscuous daughter of his landlord and his female University friend/girlfriend. It is such a poorly written, pointless and down right farscical scene that exposes just how weak a story and script Carol Black has made us endure. There are zero gags, once the initial shock of 'oh, he's pretending to be black' has worn off there is nothing else left but a shallow, withering husk of a film that boasts two of the greatest cinematic voices in James Earl Jones and a barely present Leslie Nielsen in poor roles. I am very surprised that an actor of Jones' calibre signed up for this guff. His voice is like a force of nature in itself and he is perfectly cast as the Professor of Law, however, not in a comedy/crass/downright crap film like this.
The problems with the script and the film as a whole is that it is blatantly racist of the 'positive discrimmination' variety (which society as a whole appears to believe is justified). It puts in every single white stereotype imaginable, yet throws impartiality to the wind and fails to do the same with the black characters. Here we have a spoilt brat being 'abandoned' by his wealthy parents to fend for himself, his cocky/smart ass Jewish friend and his two stuck up spoilt/pretentious former school friends. We are then introduced to the sub-Landlord who is a portrayed as a white racist "You're Mother never said a negro would be living here". This is followed up by yet more white stereotypes (all racist in their own way according to this) in the Leslie Nielsen character displeased at a black tennent and asking the sub-landlord to keep a look out for any behaviour that would allow him to be evicted. Leslie Nielsen's daughter is a white girl obsessed by any man not white to the point of dating the 'black' character and eventually a Native American. Nielsen's wife is a rich white lady who fantasises about being ravaged by a 'tribal black' because all they do is think about 'white women' in Africa. Their son also fantasises about him as a gay black music star - because 'all wealthy white families have closeted gay sons'. Of course the police are racist (a common cliche in films) by pulling over our blacked up character for a minor offence after tailing him. He is then flung in with a group of white baseballers who complain that they "lost to a bunch of n#####s".
Back at the university we have two white students who crack racist jokes all the time. Basketball players who all presume that because he is black he is great at basketball and fellow classmates who believe he just got on because he was black. Even his parents when they see him black believe he is a car-jacker/mugger.
The only characters that walk out of this with any dignity are all black - James Earl Jones and the female lead (played by Rae Dawn Chong) and her two Grandparents and son. Even Mr Earl Jones gets a racist dig in "These little white s***" presuming that they only got to the university because they come from a privilleged background.
Seriously, there is nothing funny about this film, other than the thought of what would have happened had the boot been firmly placed on the other foot and this had been a film at the expense of coloured people.
The ending is awful (he wins the girl by punching the two 'racist' white guys) and admits to learning how 'difficult it is being black'. Seriously vomit inducing garbage that is supposed to have a profound message which roughly translates as 'all whites are racist unless they are subserviant to those coloured and all coloured people are smart, intelligent and just need an opportunity'. Over 100 minutes of time I will never get back (and I watched this atrocity twice to show others just how downright bad it is).