Undercover Brother

One of the latest trends in movies is the return of blaxploitation, or at least a gentle mocking of it. It was there in Pootie Tang and (unintentionally) in Bones. The best example by far (but still not that great) is Undercover Brother, based on the internet series by John Ridley (Three Kings, Cold Around the Heart). Undercover Brother (Eddie Griffin, The New Guy, John Q.) is the coolest brother around. He sports a sky-high afro, hip clothes, and a cool car. He is an urban superhero, who fights for the everyday black man. This attracts the attention of the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D, an organization of like minded brothers led by The Chief (Chi McBride, Disney's The Kid, Gone in Sixty Seconds), who works to thwart the nefarious plots of The Man.

The Man's henchman, Mr. Feather (Chris Kattan, Corky Romano, Monkeybone) has a plan to subjugate the black man by brainwashing. The Chief realizes that the only person who can stop his is Undercover Brother. The problem is that nobody knows how Mr. Feather is going about his plan. Undercover Brother and Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis, The Caveman's Valentine, Men of Honor) set out to infiltrate Mr. Feather's hideout to discern his plans. Mr. Feather unleashes White She-Devil (Denise Richards, Valentine, The World is Not Enough) to go against Undercover Brother. As a white woman, she is the bane of the black man, and Undercover Brother's weakness. Most of the movie feels like a bunch of skits strung together haphazardly, with racial jokes at the center of each one.

Yes, this movie is dumb, but it is also funny. Ridley wrote the script with Michael McCullers (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) is full of stereotypes for blacks as well as whites. It's just that they approach everything with a light touch. Undercover Brother doesn't really make fun of these stereotypes, it revels in them. But never at the expense of the actors. It's more director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man) using them to create bizarrely funny characters. There really is no depth to any of them, they are all one-joke characters. Conspiracy Brother (Dave Chapelle, Screwed, Blue Streak) spouts all sorts of conspiracies about blacks and whites, and Lance (Neil Patrick Harris, The Next Best Thing, The Wedding Dress) is the white man who lost in black culture. Undercover Brother is shallow and stupid, yet manages to retain a sense of loopy fun that movies like this need in order to make people laugh. After it's over, nobody will remember much of anything, except that they did laugh.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 23 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language, sexual humor, drug content, and campy violence.

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