Undercover Brother

Undercover Brother


Reviewed by: Lottie Oaktrees

Where do I start with this film? Okay, how about the good bits? A lesbian shower scene, featuring Denise Richards in very little clothing? Sounds pretty good to me.

Then I saw it. In fact, I saw the entire movie. To this day, I can't understand why I didn't walk out, because, believe me, "turkey" is too good a word.

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Eddie Griffin plays the title role in what appears to be the black version of Austin Powers, except without the charm, fun or decent one-liners. The plot centres on an attempt by the vaguely titled bad guy, The Man, to impede the chances of an African American candidate running in the next presidential election. It's up to Undercover Brother, with the aid of the Black Brotherhood, to save the day.

They have gone so overboard on the characterisations that it's just too much. Griffin is not endearing. His performance screams "stand up comedian trying to act". I had the opportunity to speak with him via satellite the other day and was dumbfounded when he said that he felt he was "this generations answer to Richard Pryor" Don't attempt to put yourself on that platform, mate, because you ain't!

Even the sight of Billy Dee Williams, as General Boutwell, couldn't save this sinking ship.

There are some performances that click, however. Denise Richards is perfectly cast as White She Devil - big eyes, pouty lips, every teenage boy's wet dream in a tight white leather catsuit. There's not much to complain about Chris Kattan, as Mr Feathers, either. He camps it up big style, which, on the whole, doesn't gel. In the end, I have to point the finger of blame at leading man Griffin. He looks uncomfortable throughout and shows no sign of screen presence.

I heard no laughter in the cinema, not even a muffled giggle. In fact, the nearest the film had to a reaction was the sigh of relief that swept through the audience when the credits started to role. Maybe, I just don't get it. Maybe, my funny bone had been removed that day.

Maybe not.

Reviewed on: 13 Feb 2003
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Sub-Austin Powers high jinks in which bad guy tries to stop an African American running for president.
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Director: Malcolm D Lee

Writer: John Ridley

Starring: Eddie Griffin, Aunjanue Ellis, Denise Richards, Chi McBride, Chris Kattan, Neil Patrick Harris, Billy Dee Williams

Year: 2002

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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