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Malibu's Most Wanted

Starring Jaime Kennedy, Taye Diggs, Anthony Anderson
Screenplay by Fax Bahr & Adam Small & Jaime Kennedy and Nick Swardson
Directed by John Whitesell

IN SHORT: Only for fans of Jamie Kennedy [Rated PG-13 for sexual humor, language and violence.]

The scariest five words in the English Language are: "Bo Derek plays the mother." If you understand the deeper meaning of that sentence you are at least decade too old for Malibu's Most Wanted, the big screen debut of little screen star Jaime Kennedy. If you've never heard of Jaime Kennedy or watched his hit teevee show on the WB (which should clue you in on the appropriate demographic target right there), well, don't worry about great word of mouth from your friends, imploring you to plant for Malibu's Most Wanted, a one joke comedy in which a rich white kid has set his sights on the lofty goal of being a black gangsta rapper.

Then again, if you do know Kennedy and/or are a fan of his teevee work, Malibu's Most Wanted is the funniest movie that's come out of the gate this year. It's why we pay attention to the non-review audience, ninety-eight percent of whom were laughing and a smaller portion of that majority bursting out into applause at one point of the film. Not us, but we know Kennedy's work and were desperately hoping for a miraculous surprise. We didn't get it but a femme friend of ours -- granted, we're older but our film tastes tend to run in the same direction -- was laughing with great consistency. We got half a dozen chuckles, which is half a dozen more than we expected. Points to Kennedy for that.

Malibu's Most Wanted drops directly into the one joke premise, with rich white boy Brad Gluckman (Kennedy) taking the gangsta name "B-Rad" -- his rich kid gangsta wannabe friends already have their own handles -- and reveals his decision to his parental units in a most embarrassing manner. His transformation certainly wasn't seen coming by his parents, a California gubernatorial candidate (Ryan O'Neal) and his perfect wife (Bo Derek). It certainly comes at an inconvenient time, since the campaign is in full swing and daddy dearest is running a distant second. At the suggestion of campaign coordinator Tom Gibbsons (Blair Underwood), two actors (Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) are hired to kidnap the kid and scare the black out of him. That pair use a sultry friend named Shondra (Regina Hall) to accomplish the deed.

The only real idea in this lame script lies in the background relationship of the actors -- something we could reveal without much thought if it weren't the only idea worth mentioning. Yes, we're repeating our self. No, there isn't much more to say about the movie, at least from our point of view.

Yes, one character is more authentically "black" than another but it all gets a strong nose rubbing when all the play actors cross the path of some of South Central LA card carrying authentics. Only when this potentially deadly encounter starts to play out -- Diggs and Anderson have been told in the fiercest of tones that they can do anything necessary to scare B-Rad BUT should one hair on his ultra-rich head get mussed, well, white politicals can do all sorts of things in a system that routinely oppresses the black man, if you catch the drift. Our "villains" do so, it's the old rock and a hard place when B-Rad, tipped to his parent's scheme, doesn't believe that the real gangstas are actually real gangstas. Unknown to him, one of these true thugs used to be Shondra's significant other, and he's none to pleased that some white boy is making moves on his ho. Only here does the film come truly alive.Too little to late for this old fart but, for the younger audience who were laughing all along, it was a plot twist bordering on genius.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Malibu's Most Wanted, he would have paid . . .


Simply, if the blast of rap that opens the film doesn't make you want to keel over and die, you're in the market for the humor. Our overriding problem is that we don't speak the language of rap. It's all over this joint and, as a comedy, if you don't understand the jokes you don't get the jokes. That leaves a stupid white kid playing at being a poor angry black gangsta. Not for us.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.