Undercover Brother

Bomb Rating: 

Any film that employs a cast member of "Saturday Night Live" should be restricted to theaters that supply vomit bags within easy reach of the audience. Casting an SNL member is kind of like being the host of a party, only being too cheap to buy a keg of good beer and buying a vat of horse urine instead.

The cast member in question here is Chris Kattan, who plays Mr. Feather, assistant to every black man's nemesis, The Man. His role in the film is to occasionally blurt out a bit of urbanspeak, then flit around like a hummingbird on speed. This whole blaxploitation spoof is about 20 years too late. What once could have been an incisive, cutting-edge take on the portrayal of African Americans in popular culture is now just commercial pander. Undercover Brother (Eddie Griffin) is the hero of this film and he still dresses for disco, despite living in present day. He's hired by the Brotherhood to go undercover and discover who's manipulating General Boutwell (Billy Dee Williams), who has suddenly gone from promising presidential candidate to plugging fried chicken like some idiot. I suppose Williams's character is supposed to evoke Colin Powell. Unfortunately, Lando now looks like Jabba the Hut sat on his face.

Among the agents in The Brotherhood are Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis), Conspiracy Brother (David Chappelle), Smart Brother (Gary Anthony Williams), the Chief (Chi McBride), and their intern, Lance (Neil Patrick Harris).

Though Undercover Brother is able to infiltrate The Man's organization, he's thwarted by White She Devil (Denise Richards), the idea being that no black man can resist a hot white woman. If Richards is so hot, why is she marrying Charlie Sheen? Apparently being white and a cocaine addict does count for something. Incidentally, Richards gets a higher cast credit than Aunjanue Ellis, despite the fact that Ellis has more screen time.

While I'm focused on bad casting, I should also note that no film that casts Neil Patrick Harris should be watched. After all, when this guy is 80 years old, people will still be calling him "Doogie." When he first showed up on screen, I said, "Hey, it's Doogie!" This does little for believability. Neil Patrick Harris may be an uptight white guy to the makers of this film, but he'll always be Doogie Howser to me. It's too bad the filmmakers couldn't keep "Undercover Brother" a secret from self-respecting filmgoers.

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