As soon as I saw a commercial for Malibu’s Most Wanted, I knew I needed to see it. I wanted to see this so badly I used my wifely wiles to convince my husband to take me to this on our tenth wedding anniversary. (He didn’t think so highly of it, and I had to spend our eleventh anniversary watching Hellboy. Even given that, it was worth it.)
I understand why some might find this offensive: this movie is funny because it's riffing on offensive stereotypes. In this case, that young urban African Americans are all dangerous gangsters (or, excuse me, gangstaz) who refuse to speak proper English. If you’re going to play with stereotypes for comedy, you’ve got to go all the way to show how ridiculous they are—and Jamie Kennedy goes all the way.
Kennedy is Brad aka B-Rad Gluckman, a wealthy, completely deluded young man whose father is running for political office. (And to make this movie extra ridiculous, his Jewish parents are played by Ryan O’Neal and Bo Derek.) He and his friends are self-styled gangsters (gangstaz—whatever) in their extremely privileged Malibu 'hood. Therapy has been unsuccessful (but does yield a diagnosis of Gangstaphrienia), and his father is desperate to prevent B-rad from embarrassing him on the campaign trail. His ambitious campaign manager (Blair Underwood) hits upon the idea of scaring B-rad straight by getting him involved with some real inner city gangsters. Just one problem: he doesn’t know any. He hits on the ingenious solution of hiring aspiring actors Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson to play the parts. They in turn recruit Anderson’s cousin Regina Hall to help sell the act further in her neighborhood. It’s all one big con that spirals out of control—think tanks and military grade artillery in Compton—and in the end Blair Underwood is fired, Ryan O'Neal wins the election, Jamie Kennedy gets the girl and everyone accepts him for what he is: a wannabe rapper in a privileged white man’s body. The End.
The brilliance of this movie doesn’t really take off until Kennedy is thrown in with Diggs and Anderson—and then it’s gold. Some of my favorite scenes:
+The attempted robbery at the liquor store. As Anderson and Diggs bicker about who’s going to go in with Kennedy to make sure he knocks it off, Diggs pleads with Anderson: “Will you please do this for me? You know I’m afraid of Koreans!”
+When Anderson and Diggs finally get Kennedy to break. “Gentleman, I am really sorry if I offended you.” Anderson and Diggs are almost convinced, but there’s only one way to find out. Which leads to...the scary movie. Suffice to say, it leads back to Square One.
+Taye Diggs offering an explanation of what happened that only a philosophy professor could untangle.
And what do we learn at the end of this movie? Absolutely nothing: truly the hallmark of a well-done Stupid Movie.
Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to visit Caroline for her pick on the 12th