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Malibu's Most Wanted

By Bret McCabe | Posted

While Jamie Kennedy is the most rodentlike big-screen presence to come along since Stuart Little, he may have found his Hamlet in Brian "B-Rad" Gluckman, the affluent "gangsta" from tony Malibu, Calif. And while Malibu's Most Wanted really only contains one joke--the inversion of racial stereotypes--drummed repeatedly to death, it occasionally hits Putney Swope levels of absurdity en route through its feckless story. Puffy daddy Gluckman (Ryan O'Neal) is running for governor, and his son B-Rad's antics aren't polling well. So his uptight African-American campaign manager (Blair Underwood, whose transformation into the James Spader of his generation is now complete) hires two finely trained actors (a superb duo of Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) to method-act thug and try to scare the (ahem) "black" out of B-Rad. While Most Wanted's central conceit--that the gangsta persona itself is a media-groomed role that is performed--is rather daft, director John Whitesell (everybody was in on that joke, right?) aims for easy targets, sight gags, and winking movie allusions, making the film's potential bite toothless.

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