Juwanna Mann

In Juwanna Mann, a male basketball player impersonates a female basketball player. The time it took to read the first sentence is probably greater than the total amount of time that the film is interesting. This is a great example of a mediocre idea gone awry. Somebody, probably writer Bradley Allenstein, figured that this idea was good enough for a movie. It isn't. It may be somewhat funny as a skit on a sketch comedy show, but that is probably stretching it (oddly enough, this means it is right at place on Saturday Night Live). Taking it to a full-length feature film is torturous at times. Juwanna Mann suffers from a lack of humor, and a stupefying lack of logic, especially the ending (that is, if people feel the need to sit through the entire movie.

Juwanna is actually Jamal Jeffries (Miguel A. Nunez, Jr., Scooby-Doo, MacArthur Park), an arrogant professional basketball player. His ego gets the best of him, earning him a particularly nasty suspension that even his agent, Lorne Daniels (Kevin Pollack, Stolen Summer, Dr. Dolittle 2) cannot find a way out of. Jeffries' solution is to dress up as a woman, and play for the WUBA Charlotte Banshees, the fictional women's league in this movie. Nobody except Daniels is the wiser, and Jeffries begins life as a woman. Unfortunately, he acts just like he does when he is a man. He is a glory hound and ball-hog, much to the dismay of Banshees captain Michelle Langford (Vivica A. Fox, Two Can Play That Game, Kingdom Come), who also happens to be really attractive. Jeffries begins to fall for her, just as rapper Puff Smokey Smoke (Tommy Davidson, Bamboozled, Pros and Cons) begins to fall for Juwanna. One of the (many) things that make Juwanna Mann unbelievable is that Nunez does not look like a woman. He looks like a man in drag, and apparently everybody is too stupid to realize this.

Although real professional players appear, the fictional teams do not help matters. No one cares who wins or loses, and there is no sense of excitement at the prospect of winning or losing. The basketball scenes are not shot well either. Since there is not a shred of originality in Juwanna Mann, director Jesse Vaughn needs to have the friendship of the Banshees begin to change Jeffries' personality for the better. He learns about teamwork, and how there are things more important that all his bling-bling, and eventually Jeffries will become a better person. However, just as this is happening, something will happen that will reveal his secret and ruin his budding friendship with Michelle. Don't worry, everything will be fine in the end. It has to be because the rules say so. Vaughn does all this with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, so that only people who have been hiding in dark caves will not see any of this coming. Both Juwanna and Jamal are annoying characters, so it is hard watching them for long amounts of time. This is true for Davidson too. Juwanna Mann is a mish-mash of stale cross-dressing jokes and bad stereotyping

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language and sex-related material.

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