Undercover Brother

"Weak"

Undercover Brother Review


The Blaxploitation films of the 1970s starred relatively unknown black actors playing new kinds of male and female superheroes that had all of the style, funk, and butt-stomping moves to tackle any foe. With the exception of the Samuel L. Jackson's remake of Shaft and Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, very few films in this genre have emerged in the last 30 years. Undercover Brother is a throwback to those classic films, but sadly, contains too little of the fashion or the funk that made its predecessors so much fun.

The film stars Eddie Griffin as Undercover Brother, a modern day black man with a wild afro and everything a '70s man could want, including a solid gold caddy, platform shoes, and polyester bell-bottoms. Brother is recruited by the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. organization to help overpower the evil efforts of "The Man." The Man, along with henchmen "The Feather" (Chris Kattan) and "White She-Devil" (Denise Richards) are causing havoc with race relations between blacks and whites. In "Operation Whitewash," The Man has influenced black General Boutwell (Billy Dee Williams) to not run for President, but rather to open a chain of fast food chicken restaurants.

Undercover Brother tries to infuse the outrageous style of Austin Powers with the high-tech gadgetry of James Bond. Unfortunately, Griffin is not given enough time to develop his superhero role. His uninteresting counterparts cloud his performance as they spend more time telling the same racial jokes rather than investigating Operation Whitewash. These good-spirited jokes are meant to poke fun at the differences between white and black people, but quickly become overused and tiresome. In particular, the film spends an excruciatingly long time on the use of mayonnaise to make a simple point. Brother is repeatedly instructed, "If you're going to pass in white America, you must like mayonnaise." (And I don't know any white people that like mayonnaise! -Ed.)

Director Malcolm D. Lee (Spike's cousin) cannot match the winning formula of Austin Powers primarily because his film lacks the comedic brilliance of a star like Mike Myers. Myers dominates Powers -- even playing multiple characters with skill and ease. Undercover Brother could have been much funnier and more effective had Lee allowed Griffin to explore in greater detail his solid gold fashion sense and the interesting tools he uses to fight The Man. Griffin definitely has some comedic talent and shines in the moments the film devotes exclusively to him.

Undercover Brother does stay true to the Blaxploitation formula, but because it recycles the same jokes, it misses out on much funnier moments spent satirizing Brother's funk and fashion. I guess The Man got him down after all.

The U.B. DVD features more extras than I'd thought possible, including two commentaries, making-of tracks, a half hour-plus of deleted scenes and outtakes, and an alternate ending. Mmmmm, brownies.

Who's bad?



Undercover Brother

Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Friday 31st May 2002

Box Office USA: $38.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $41.6M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Fresh: 100 Rotten: 30

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Undercover Brother, as Mr. Feather, as White She Devil, as Sistah Girl, as The Chief, as Lance, as Conspiracy Brother

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.