This week:
Undercover Brother

Filthy says:
"Race comedy for fucking cowards."

I'll let you in on a little secret. It's something I don't just tell anyone because it's something I don't advertise. I'm not black. I'm white, actually about as white as the asses at a Wisconsin nudist colony. Only not as hairy. The only thing as white as me is Undercover Brother, an unbearably unimaginative, toothless blaxploitation spoof with the fingerprints of chicken-shit Hollywood executives all over it.

This thing is like a porno edited for a hotel room: the good stuff has been cut to avoid offending anyone. What's left is an undernourished pile of crap with no point of view and nothing to say. It feels like the cast, writer and director catered to the milquetoast demands their white bosses toss them. "Yes, suh! I's get you yours slippers right away, suh!"

When jokes point out the raw, ugly realities of racial tension and bigotry, they work; they're both funny and painful like getting your nuts caught in a vise while building a dog house. They teach us to be a little better people and make us laugh. But so many comics are so eager to cash in their Hollywood chip that they keep diluting the jokes until what's left are laughless, pointless cliché.

Undercover Brother is a very white black comedy, full of toothless digs. It's not clever, bitter or smart enough to be funny and it relies way too heavily of safe clichés. It's safeness carries over to the soundtrack. Where some badass funk could have been used, the movie settles for the same old shit like Grand Funk Railroad and Kool and the Gang. We've heard it all before and it adds nothing. Eddie Griffin is Undercover Brother, a big-afro'ed fighter for the black way. While erasing the bad credit history of some brothers, he is discovered by the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., a clandestine organization trying to stop The Man from brainwashing the black population and converting its presidential hopeful (Billy Dee Williams) into a fried chicken salesman. Working with them, Undercover Brother goes incognito inside The Man's corporation and is ensnared by a big-haired white woman (Denise Richards).

That's a funny premise, and turning a Colin Powell-like characterinto an Uncle Tom who can't help but enjoy fried chicken is funny. The problems are that it isn't pushed any farther than that and the real Uncle Toms are the filmmakers. Beyond the premise, it's safety first as the cast avoids offending anyone by making the targets wider than Mrs. Filthy's polyester-clad hips. Plus, it's amateur hour; every gag is as tired as a broke-dick dog. Many aren't even gags so much as they are ideas dragged out without punchlines. Chi McBride is B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D.'s leader, a gruff man who tells Griffin to give him one good reason not to fire him This is supposed to be a hilarious parody of the stereotypical police captain. Only two problems. First, the parody has been done up the ass more times than Candy Bottoms. Second, for it to be funny, he should have some jokes. This movie just has him yell a lot, and if I wanted that I would tell my dad I was dropping out of junior college again. Dave Chapelle plays Conspiracy Brother, a man who thinks everything is a plot by white people to keep blacks down. It's another funny premise that just isn't fleshed out. After all, if you did, it might offend someone. And Doogie Howser makes a cameo as a white intern who, ha ha, can't sing or dance. Boy, that's about as clever as the Harelip's "I don't have a drinking problem" T-shirt.

There are lots of other gags that Director Malcolm D. Lee (cashing in the nepotism ticket his cousin Spike gave him) throws in there under the assumption that the premise itself will make us wet our pants. Whites love mayonnaise and blacks like hot sauce. That idea is so funny that 20 minutes of screen time is spent beating it harder than a crying two-year old in a K-Mart. In another victory for Chris Kattan's agent, he's gotten his brutally unfunny little bitch hired in the film as The Man's effeminate henchmen. Having nothing funny to say, Kattan tries to generate laughs the only way he knows how: by being really fucking loud. I can't emphasize enough how awful this little prick is; it's comedy like the kid in high school who walks up beside you and yells in your ear.

Freakish-looking Denise Richards is supposed to be a white temptress, but she's becoming as ugly as a horse with reconstructive surgery. The lady can't act and her only assets are her plastic tits and nice ass. The low-budget costumes, however, accentuate neither. And several other characters have thankless roles of embodying stereotypes.

Beyond the first-draft screenplay, Undercover Brother looks really cheap. I'm sure it was because its makers were desperately eager to please their white bosses. But this movie looks amateurishly bad. The sets are claustrophobically small. The climax, which supposedly takes place on The Man's exotic island hideaway, looks more like an elementary school basement. The doors, walls, halls and rooms are completely nondescript. The direction is static with fixed cameras shooting nothing but tight close-ups that hide the cheap sets and get us way too close to the actors' nosehairs.

This is bad shit: a race comedy by amateurs and moneygrubbers scared to death of offending anyone. One Finger for Undercover Brother. Would someone in Hollywood please take a fucking risk?

Want to tell Filthy Something?

Filthy's Reading
Leonard Michaels - A Girl with a Monkey

Listening to
Savage Kick

Silence of the Lambs

Victoria Snee of the WB

Undercover Brother is "Austin Powers meets Shaft!"

Enough is "Gripping and Powerful!"


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