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Movie Review

With a very public campaign and a gangsta-wannabe son capturing media attention, Bill Gluckman's opportunity to become the next governor of California is in serious jeopardy. Although Jewish and privileged, Brad Gluckman (aka B-Rad) walks, talks and attempts to rap like an inner-city playa—something that is perceived (rightly) by Bill's staff as a liability among potential voters.Unbeknownst to candidate Gluckman, a plan is concocted by his handlers to pay two African-American actors to stage his son's kidnapping in order to "scare the black out of him" with a tour of Compton. To help accomplish this goal, the actors hire the street-savvy Shondra believing her knowledge of the 'hood will augment their lack of "experience." Thus begins a series of "lessons" to convince B-Rad to go "white." Nothing seems to work—especially after B-Rad overhears a phone conversation in which his poseur-kidnappers admit to the ruse. Suddenly, he's emboldened to defy his captors and their supposedly violent means of holding him. But his acts of insolence get him into hot water with real South Central gangsters.

positive elements: Bill Gluckman hasn't been a good father and he knows it. But he wants to change and is willing to overlook his son's bizarre gangsta image and reckless ways (arguably not a characteristic worth emulating) to get things back on track. He's even willing to put his own life and the governorship ("I'm not going to lose my son for an election!") on the line to save his son from thugs. And Mr. Gluckman isn't the only one willing to put himself in harms way. By film's end, Shondra and B-Rad's three friends (Hadji, Mocha and Monster) are willing to do the same.

sexual content: One of the two most explicit scenes features B-Rad when he first encounters Shondra. In his mind, he fantasizes that she comes on to him by opening her low-cut, midriff-baring blouse (her breasts are not visible to viewers, but he lowers himself and moves in to kiss them). Another scene involves what appears to Shondra's boyfriend as B-Rad being given oral sex (he's not). All this for laughs! It's hardly funny. In flashback, scantily-clad women dance to Naughty by Nature's vulgar "O.P.P" at Brad's Bar Mitzvah. The artwork for B-Rad's demo disc, Malibootay, features women's posteriors. PJ and Sean encourage Shondra to "show a little a--" as she attempts to motivate Brad to go white. B-Rad raps about oral sex and hops on the back of a bent-over female friend in a sexual manner. Several party scenes feature freak dancing, including one in which Brad is said to be getting "sandwiched." With 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny" playing in the background, B-Rad straddles Shondra, trying to take an offered kiss to a more explicit level. B-Rad is shown as part of a threesome (all clothed, but the two women are immodestly dressed). Later, they take off his pants (he's in his underwear). In one conversation, Brad implies that he's had cybersex.

violent content: Lots of violence, nearly all of which is "comedic." Sadly, all the gun-toting and gangbanging portrayed onscreen only furthers the stereotypical notion that urban African-Americans are gangstas and thugs. PJ and Sean threaten B-Rad with a stiletto, Glocks, guns and Uzis. He's shoved and roughed up. In once scene, Brad accidentally shoots himself in the foot. In a daydream sequence, a Korean store owner punches him. In reality, the store owner, his wife and his pre-teen son all carry weapons to protect their business. In a rhyme battle, a rapper grabs Brad by the throat before abusing him verbally. Finally, Brad is forced out of the club and thrown into a dumpster. One scene proffers an extended gang-related shootout. B-Rad shoots up cars and fires towards people believing the damage he sees is all "special effects." Asked, "Where did you learn that from?," Brad replies, "Grand Theft Auto 3." Brad's friends return to their homes to borrow their "parent's gats" in order to rescue their friend. They return with a musket, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and a spear-gun. The latter winds up accidentally firing, catching B-Rad in the rear. The grenade launcher ends up in a gas oven, blowing up an entire residence (the occupants barely escape).

crude or profane language: The language is crude, vulgar and often profane—and there's lots of it. Because gangsta-ism is central to this flick, "b--ch" and "ho" are used ad nauseam. Trying to help his father's campaign, B-Rad comes up with a banner indicating that his father is "down with the b--ches and hos." "Jesus" and "Christ" each get abused, along with numerous misuses of "God" (among other things, it's paired with "d--n"). The s-word is used four or five times. "Friggin'" and "frickin'" substitute for their more obscene verbal cousin. But several partially-bleeped f-words are utilized in closing outtakes. Other foul expressions include "suck," "pimp juice," "p-ss" and "muthafake." When B-Rad raps a racial epithet in an all-black club, he's vilified by attendees. But the same word is used by an African-American.

drug and alcohol content: B-Rad drinks what looks like champagne in his father's limo. And he's sent into a grocery mart to purchase six 40s [40 ounce bottles of malt liquor] and Hennessy. 40s are the beverage of choice at several parties, where many revelers are shown drinking.

other negative elements: In flashback, a seven-year-old Brad expresses hostility toward his parents ("Forget you!"). Glamorizing the featured rap artists and their music (Snoop Dog, Naughty by Nature, 2 Live Crew) is one more item on an already lengthy list of problematic elements.

conclusion: Malibu's Most Wanted is How High- or Next Friday-lite. What separates this PG-13 mess from its R-rated friends? About a hundred f-words, full nudity and dope smoking. Substituting for those elements are a boatload of "milder" profanities and vulgarities, ribald sexual "humor," and cases of malt liquor. Once again, the racial stereotyping is unsettling. Nowhere to be found are African-Americans who aren't into the thug life. For that matter, no one in this film is worth watching, much less emulating—white, black or green—making Malibu one of today's least-wanted theater destinations.

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Jamie Kennedy as B-Rad (Brad Gluckman); Taye Diggs as Sean; Anthony Anderson as PJ; Regina Hall as Shondra; Blair Underwood as Tom Gibbons; Ryan O'Neal as Bill Gluckman; Bo Derek as Bess Gluckman; Snoop Dogg as Ronnie Rizzat


John Whitesell ( )


Warner Bros.



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