Roxette Crash!Boom!Bang! review

Black And White - Dir: James Tobac, Starring Brooke Sheilds, Ben Stiller

The road to Hell just got a little more pavement with the release of Black And White, an assumably well intentioned but flustered look at race relations in New York City. The film has received an almost universal tongue lashing from critics and as such, the iconoclast in me would like to defend it, find some nuance or gem within the film that all others missed. Unfortunately, I canít. In fact I canít find much of anything in this film, especially in the way of a discernible plot or profound point of view.

The story basically isÖ "Rich white kids hang out with street smart, up and coming black rap stars." Thatís it. Oh, thereís some sort of gambling/revenge plot involving Ben Stiller as a police officer, but itís so absurd I wonít even go into detail. Thereís plenty of good actors here: Robert Downey Jr., Jared Leto, Brooke Shields, Ben Stiller, Elijah Wood, not to mention credible performances by rappers Method Man, Power, Raekwon and a surprisingly good turn by basketball player Allan Houston. But none of them can do much with this amorphous script that seems to elude their best efforts to tame it. Perhaps the most interesting persona onscreen is Mike Tyson as himself in one of the most memorable cameos of all time. Tyson seems to have realized the public is never going to see him as anything more than an ill tempered brute and manages to pull off a confessional and in some ways sympathetic performance. But even the glow his self deprecating turn provides is not enough to grant this film the credibility it needs.

It should be noted the film doesnít travel the obvious route one would expect from Hollywood. The white kids are not simply vapid teenagers co-opting black culture, in fact their love for hip-hop is given a degree of legitimacy while still calling to point the obviously hypocrisy of it all. And the black characters are not either callow brutes or noble savages, the two most prominent interpretations white, liberal Hollywood seems to offer of the rap phenomenon. One gets the feeling that director James Toback has a point worth making with this film, only he may not be the one most capable of making it. Ultimately, the vagueness of its morality and the fact that the film seems to end simply because they ran out of reels brings Black And White thundering to the ground.

A crappy film deserves an equally crappy web site, and Black and White doesnít disappoint:

However, you can see the controversial and arousing intro of the film that was toned down in an effort to get a R rating for the film here: (Though on 56k itís about as arousing as Tickle Me Elmo)

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