Malibu's Most Wanted

Jamie Kennedy has managed to do what every Saturday Night Live bit player has dreamed of; turned a sketch comedy character into a full-blown mediocre movie. Like most of its ilk, Malibu's Most Wanted suffers because watching something that can be funny for five minutes slowly becomes unbearable over the course of ninety. The main character, B-Rad, aka Brad Gluckman, (Kennedy, Max Keeble's Big Move, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) was conceived on the WB's The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, where Kennedy assumes a number of characters and films people's response to them. B-Rad is wannabe rapper, an upper class white boy from Malibu who talks, dresses, and acts like he is black. Kennedy brought B-Rad to the screen with co-writers Fax Bahr and Adam Small (In the Army Now, Son in Law), and Nick Swardson.

In the film, B-Rad's father Bill (Ryan O'Neal, Zero Effect, The List) is in the middle of a campaign for Governor of California, and his aides think that B-Rad's antics may be a problem. They hire two actors, Sean (Taye Diggs, Basic, Chicago) and P.J. (Anthony Andersen, Cradle 2 the Grave, Kangaroo Jack) to "scare the black" out of P.J. The plan is to carjack B-Rad, take him to South Central, and show him what life is really like. Well, these two actors may be black, but they are more whitebread than B-Rad, and things do not go as planned. B-Rad falls for P.J.'s cousin Shondra (Regina Hall, Paid in Full, Scary Movie 2).

The moral of the story (yes, there is one) is that people need to accept others as they are, since they may actually be that way. It's not a difficult concept to grasp, and to get to the end, people need to sit through what amounts to an extended joke courtesy of director John Whitesell (See Spot Run, Calendar Girl). The whole joke is that Kennedy is trying to look cool, but comes off as a moron to everybody around him. Once he gets to South Central, he feels right at home, much to the chagrin and annoyance of everybody who actually calls it home. The joke tires quickly and Kennedy crosses the line into grating, which is not a good thing since he is the centerpiece of the film, running through the prerequisite parodies of movies like 8 Mile and Training Day.

However, the script goes too far is trying, turning B-Rad into a caricature. He is every extreme of what a wannabe wants to be, and in its logic, is part of the reason why people should laugh at this film. Instead, it dumbs down Malibu's Most Wanted. As odd as it may seem, holding back on the B-Rad character would make the film funnier, and take away some of the more painful sequences to sit through. Sean and P.J. are funnier to watch. They are trained actors who have never been to the hood, and part of the movie follows them as they try to act like they are black. Diggs and Andersen look like they're having fun with their roles, because they are spoofing stereotypes of what people think gang members are like, and their characters are failing miserably at it. Malibu's Most Wanted needs more of them and less of Kennedy.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 26 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual humor, language, and violence.

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