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Head Of State (2003)
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Review Date: March 26, 2003
Director: Chris Rock
Writer: Chris Rock, Ali LeRoi
Producers: Chris Rock, Ali LeRoi, Michael Rotenberg
Actors:
Chris Rock as Mays
Bernie Mac as Mitch
Dylan Baker as Martin
Plot:
A low-level black politician who just got dumped by his bitchy girlfriend is asked to run as the lead Democratic candidate in the elections for the President of the Unites States of America in 2004. The man agrees, quickly charts his campaign across America and ultimately brings his bail bondsman brother on board as the Vice-Presidential candidate. References to Nelly ensue...
Critique:
This movie could've been really funny, in fact, it should have been really funny considering that Rock was finally on board as both the writer and director of a film starring himself, and not just the "black comedian" attached to a script, but as it stands now, it suffers from the lack of consistent humor, idiotic plotting, outrageous situations intertwined with realistic ones, not enough Bernie (da) Mac and not enough Chris Rock being...Chris Rock. I'm not sure what the deal is with Rock and movies, but he just doesn't seem to be pulling it together at all! The premise here seemed about as ripe as any for Rock to assemble his plethora of astute observations about America and use them on a much grander scale, but the only really funny scenes in the entire movie featured either Rock standing in front of an audience and "letting loose" (the whole "that ain't right" speech was hilarious) or B-Mac doing the rounds of the TV shows ("I don't know no NATO...I know a Nato Jacobs"). Nobody else in the cast is even remotely amusing, interesting or developed and the pathetic excuse for a "love interest" subplot is about as manufactured as my left butt cheek. Is anyone in the audience really supposed to believe that a guy would fall in love with a girl after seeing her behind the counter of a gas station and that girl is to fall for him because...uuuhmmm, why did she start liking him again? No idea! Either way, it doesn't matter because it's phonier than even real politicians and every time the "romance" in the film started up, I'd just roll my eyes and pray that Bernie Mac would come crashing in to get the party started again (he's actually quite underused in the film).

Then there's the plot. Granted, I wasn't exactly expecting ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN in terms of realism, but when a film includes an opposing Presidential candidate who doesn't even know who he's running up against a few weeks before the actual election, I can't help but wonder if that is supposed to be funny, stupid or just plain ridiculous. If it's ridiculous, that's fine too, but this ain't exactly POOTIE TANG. This movie actually tries to sell itself off as somewhat believable at times, so don't be pushing bullshit cards like a girl turning down a date with the future President because she "works" that night, or Rock dodging the Secret Service and driving a lady around town in his own campaign bus. I don't buy it! The film also includes a dude who "sings" during a few of its interludes (one Nate Dogg), but even that just feels like an attempt at padding the film's measly clock-time. The movie only worked when Rock was either "on" or whenever he and Mac played in a scene together and that's what it should have exploited further. The film does feature a handful of funny one-liners though ("God bless America...and no place else!"), some over-the-top stuff that works (the super-whore, the "security!" line and all that punching/slapping), but overall, it's just too tame, it's just not funny enough and it's just not particularly special. Being that I consider Rock to be one of the funnier Americans around...that's saying quite a bit. Even the film's final outtakes blew. Catch it on a really cheap video night, but even then...make sure that a friend pays. Rock's crappy movie streak continues and the only advice I can now give the man is this: don't pull an Eddie Murphy on us, dude...don't pull an Eddie Murphy...
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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