Monday, 5 December 2011

Undercover Brother Review

Let me start out by saying that if you critique movies based on the quality of acting, directing, cinematography, special effects, writing, etc., you will not like this movie.  From that standpoint, almost everything is bad.  The plot is a ludicrous twist on those mid-range James Bond movies where the hero and his organization is ridiculous and the evil organization is even more ridiculous.  Basically, Eddie Griffin is trying to save African American culture from being set back fifty years through a mind control drug administered through a chain of fried chicken restaurants (yeah, it's that weird).

But the thing is, it's supposed to be what it is.  After all, Eddie Griffin is the star.  That, in itself, should indicate it was never intended for Oscar consideration.  They didn't set out to make some groundbreaking movie just to end up with crap.  They set out to make an over the top comedy and, when looked at in that light, they ended up with a hit.  I will say that, even though the formula worked, some of the acting is so bad that it is still difficult to watch.  Most of the peripheral characters (White She Devil, Smart Brother, Mr Feather and his sidekick), while decently inspired for the film, are brought to life in such an awkward way that is sometimes difficult to watch.  But, for the most part, the over acting adds some comic element.

There are two performances that do stand out though.  First, Neil Patrick Harris as the token white guy is really good.  He plays the geeky, stereotypical white guy well and when his character starts to empathize with the Brotherhood's plight, he transitions even better.  But the best performance by far is from Dave Chappelle as Conspiracy Brother.  He steals absolutely every scene he is in.  Almost every line is perfectly written for him and he delivers each one with terrific timing and comic inflection.  I still laugh every time I think about the 'Atomic Core" button.

See it.  It's an hour and a half of mindless fun that delivers laugh after laugh.

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