ninth symphony films - movie reviews

MALIBU'S MOST WANTED (2003)


DIRECTOR  -  john whitesell

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  86 minutes

RELEASED  -  18 april 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  malibu's most

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  unknown
malibu's most wanted - a shot from the film

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SYNOPSIS:
a man running for governor of the state of california believes his rapper-imitating son might cost him the election so he hires two actors to kidnap his son and drop him in the 'hood, convinced it'll scare the black off him.




MOVIE FACT:
originally titled "suckaz."


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from malibu's most wanted

picture from malibu's most wanted

picture from malibu's most wanted



RATING:


one out of four possible stars

One questions whether or not a review of this type of film need be written, given that audiences who actually pay for tickets to Malibu's Most Wanted will be fans of the genre (the General Idiocy Genre) or fans of lead star, Jamie Kennedy, whose white rapper character from his television show, "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment," was taken to create this film. It was a short trip from conception to screen as the idea ended up as a feature film with barely a year between the airing of Kennedy's show and the US release date of the film.

It seems film executives thought they had a character worthy of ninety minutes of your time and believed that making the life story of this annoying made-up character would pack theaters. But what they failed to realize is that Jamie Kennedy is not as funny in long-format as he is in a five minute skits. Like the myriad characters that have trotted their way from the stages of "Saturday Night Live" to the feature film screen, "Brad Gluckman" has a few funny jokes inside him, but is not a barrel of laughs worthy of an entire film. After all, how many times can one recycle the same joke in one ninety minute film?

In just viewing the trailer for Malibu, one can pick out a certain joke that is repeated more than once. And if the producers felt strapped enough to repeat themselves in the two and a half minutes of film represented in the trailer, it's not a stretch to imagine how many times the jokes are repeated in the film itself. Perhaps if Kennedy's character had been one of many screw-ups or goof-balls that the audience could have focused on, the film wouldn't have seemed so slim. The fine performances of Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson notwithstanding, the film's laughter quotient still doesn't rank high enough to warrant a hearty recommendation on that score.

But perhaps in expecting this film to deliver more laughs than it does, I am requesting too much of the filmmakers. In terms of feature film creation, eighty-six minutes (that's with the credits) is by no means a gargantuan amount of time with which to fill with jokes. If anything, this film is a rather short one. Of course, it doesn't always feel that way, and by the time those credits do roll, some audience members might be wondering why the movie was indeed so long. Maybe Brad Gluckman should have stayed on the small screen and stuck within a smaller time frame?

Placing ideas on laughs-per-minute quota and the suitability of the white rapper character for the big screen, the basic message of this film -- that one must be true to one's self in order to live a happy and fulfilled life -- is an honorable one that speaks well for the film's creators. Like the similarly themed, Bringing Down The House, this film seeks to play with the stereotypes and differences of African American and white society in the United States. The protagonists in Malibu are all sympathetic and it's easy to "root" for the idiot lead character, even if it's not so easy to laugh all the time.

Surprisingly, the film might be a more convincing comment on stereotypes than Bringing Down The House, but that doesn't excuse the lackadaisical attitude toward originality the filmmakers of Malibu took when creating the script. Any one of a thousand things might have contributed to its repetitive nature (a faulty script being the first to come to mind), and it would have behooved the filmmakers to spend some additional time hammering out the jokes. They could have brought in a larger audience if so much of the film hadn't seemed so carelessly thrown together.

But what marks most American comedies today is the insistence on the speed from script to screen, which many times lends to the creation of a film sent directly to video. Whereas some films languish in "development hell" (meaning they stay on the literal drawing board for years), Malibu's Most Wanted, and other films like it, seem slapped together without a moment's notice. The idea is a "hot" one, so therefore filmmakers and executives believe that the public won't wait around long enough for a film to be made with thought and ingenuity.

Executives of that ire (many of whom aren't on the creative side of the fence) continuously underestimate the intelligence of their potential audiences and films like Malibu only reinforce the fact that they believe the movie going public to be a bunch of idiots content with watching a bunch of idiots do idiotic things on screen.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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