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(2000) (Damon Wayans, Savion Glover) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Mild None Mild *Minor Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Drama/Satire: Hoping to get fired, a black TV executive reinvents the old blackface, song and dance minstrel show only to witness, to his horror, it become a huge hit among viewers.
Pierre Delacroix (DAMON WAYANS) is an African-American TV executive for the Continental Network System who's been assigned by his white boss, Dunwitty (MICHAEL RAPAPORT), to come up with a groundbreaking TV program that will showcase black talent and draw back the millions of viewers who've been tuning out.

Due to Dunwitty's overbearing and self-proclaimed grasp on being black, Pierre decides to concoct the most offensive and racist show he can imagine, hoping to get himself fired in the process. As such, he reinvents the minstrel show and hires two local street performers, Manray (SAVION GLOVER) and Womack (TOMMY DAVIDSON), renames them Mantan and Sleep 'N Eat, and casts them in "Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show."

Featuring black talent in traditional blackface and consisting of politically incorrect song and dance numbers and offensive, old-fashioned racist skits, the idea understandably insults Pierre's black assistant, Sloan Hopkins (JADA PINKETT-SMITH). Nevertheless, Dunwitty and the network executives love it, as does the live audience that - after being entertained by Honeycutt (THOMAS JEFFERSON BYRD), the show's warm-up man - quickly takes to the initially shocking sight of black men in blackface.

To Pierre's dismay, the show becomes a national hit, turning Mantan and Sleep 'N Eat into cultural icons. Not everyone is happy with the program, however, and Sloan's political activist/urban terrorist brother, Julius, a.k.a. Big Black Africa (MOS DEF), and his crew, the Mau Maus, decide to do something about the show. As they plot their action, Pierre must contend with the success of his creation and the impact that it has on his status and beliefs of being an African-American.

Those who are African-American or fans of anyone in the cast or of director Spike Lee's work might want to see it, but it doesn't seem likely that many kids, other than older teens, will be interested in it.
For strong language and some violence.
  • DAMON WAYANS plays a TV producer who decides to resurrect the old-fashioned, blackface minstrel show as a way to be fired. When the show becomes a hit, he tries to deal with the various repercussions it generates.
  • SAVION GLOVER plays a gifted tap dancer who finds himself the unlikely star of a hit TV show until he grows tired of everything to do with it. He also becomes involved with Sloan and uses some profanity.
  • JADA PINKETT-SMITH plays Pierre's assistant who's upset with his idea for the show but eventually becomes involved with Manray. She uses some profanity, we learn that she slept with Pierre in the past, and she's very violent in one scene.
  • TOMMY DAVIDSON plays Manray's longtime business partner and co-performer who has a falling out with him. He also uses strong profanity.
  • MICHAEL RAPAPORT plays a TV network executive who uses strong profanity and racial slurs (thinking he's blacker than most African-Americans).
  • MOS DEF plays Sloan's activist/terrorist brother who hates the TV show, drinks with his buddies, uses strong profanity and goes to violent extremes to get his point across.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 77 "f" words, with other expletives and colorful phrases also occurring. Violence is also rated as extreme due to several people being shot and killed with some bloody results. Those scenes may be tense or unsettling to some viewers (although they're not presented in the traditional fashion to elicit such responses).

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, and some viewers may take offense at the resurrection of the minstrel show format with black characters donning blackface and performing racist and stereotypical bits (all of which is played for satire, but some viewers might be offended nonetheless).

    Some sexually explicit dialogue is present regarding a woman's sexual past, while other sexually related comments and jokes are made, and various scantily clad women are seen in a TV commercial. Various characters also drink and smoke. If you're still concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home who wishes to see it, please take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.

  • We see a poster for some malt liquor.
  • Big Black Africa and his friends drink, some straight from the bottle.
  • Pierre makes a joke about people putting down their crack pipes long enough to apply for the show.
  • People drink in a club.
  • Pierre and his father drink. Later, the father appears to be drunk.
  • Pierre has wine.
  • During the airing of the show, we see a commercial for malt liquor.
  • People have champagne.
  • Big Black Africa's crew drinks.
  • Big Black Africa's crew drinks malt liquor.
  • After a man is shot and killed, we see some blood on his shirt, more of it then coming out onto his shirt and some on some crates.
  • We see some blood on people who've just been shot to death as well as some pools of blood next to their bodies.
  • We see blood on another person's shirt after they've been shot.
  • Some viewers may be offended by the fictitious TV show and everything about it (since it dredges up old racist stereotypes and characters).
  • Dunwitty freely uses words such as "nigger" and "chink" in conversation, but doesn't think he's doing anything wrong by doing so.
  • After Sloan objects to Pierre's idea for a show (that will dredge up old stereotypes and include characters such as Aunt Jemima and others called "porch monkeys") saying that it will offend African-Americans, Dunwitty says that they'll just donate some money to the NAACP and that will take care of matters.
  • A man trying out for the show's musical act sings about smacking his 'hos" (whores).
  • Some viewers may be offended by a standup comedian and his joke related to a man with a large and thick penis, Mother Teresa and oral sex.
  • Pierre forbids Sloan from seeing Manray, who then later questions Sloan's sexual past with Pierre.
  • Big Black Africa and his followers have bad attitudes and eventually kill a man.
  • A person shoots and kills another man.
  • Big Black Africa's men abduct a man, threaten to kill him live on the air, and then fire guns at his feet to make him dance. They eventually shoot and kill him.
  • A shootout between the police and bad guys breaks out, with most of the bad guys being shot to death (non-graphically, although we later see blood on and around their bodies).
  • A person holds a gun on another person and then shoots them twice in the gut.
  • Prop rifle: Carried and fired by a white man during one of the show's skits.
  • Handguns: Used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "F*ck that," "Get the f*ck out," "What the f*ck is going on?" "F*ck off," "Bullsh*t," "Oh sh*t," "Crazy sh*t," "Dumb ass," "Sucks," "Pasty ass," "Niggers" (said by black people as well as Dunwitty who sees himself as black), "Bastards," "Chink" (for Asian by Dunwitty), "Idiots," "Coon" (black person), "Retard," "Why don't you get your field nigger ass out of my house?" "Boner" (erection), "Balls" (testicles), "Monkey ass," 'Hos" (whores), "Bitches," "Sorry ass" and "Hell no."
  • It's possible that some kids - black or white - might want to do the blackface minstrel thing.
  • Big Black Africa's men fire guns at another man's feet to make him dance.
  • None.
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays toward the end of the film.
  • A man trying out for the show's musical act sings about smacking his 'hos" (whores).
  • Big Black Africa and his group perform a rap song that contains lyrics that can't be understood (thus offering the possibility of containing objectionable lyrics).
  • At least 77 "f" words (16 used with "mother," 5 used sexually as is the term "knocking boots"), 55 "s" words, 7 slang terms for/using male genitals ("d*ck," "pr*ck" and "Johnson"), 13 asses, 7 damns, 6 hells, 8 uses of "G-damn," 4 of "Oh my God" and 1 of "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • Dunwitty tells Pierre that he wants advertisers "sucking my d*ck" to buy advertising on their new show.
  • Manray asks Sloan whether she's "knocking boots" (having sex with) Pierre (she says that she isn't).
  • Dunwitty tells Pierre that he knows he likes his story concept because he's getting a "boner" (erection) about it.
  • During the show, a joke is made (presumably about anal sex) where one black character jokes about it being a good thing that they're not in jail or else he'd be like Captain Kirk going into the big black hole (all while Sleep 'N Eat stands behind Mantan who's bending over).
  • A standup comedian tells a joke related to a man with a large and thick penis, Mother Teresa and oral sex.
  • Mantan and Sleep 'N Eat make a sexually related joke during a show.
  • During the airing of the show, we see a commercial for malt liquor that contains women in skimpy bikinis (we see most of one's bare butt in her thong-like bottom). We then see a bit where a character states that Viagra doesn't work on "black Johnsons" (penises) and that's why their scientists invented "Da Bomb" (the malt liquor) which makes "you feel like a man and it makes your bitches feel like natural women, I mean 'hos." It ends with a woman saying (what sounded like), "I want to get funked up," someone stating that they want to get "my freak on," and a shot of a woman shaking her mostly bare bottom.
  • In another commercial, we see a woman rubbing her butt up against a car and thus see the side of her bare butt.
  • Somebody comments on a woman stating that she "f*cked" someone in college.
  • Pierre asks Sloan if she's "getting jiggy" with Manray (she says it's none of his business). A comment is then made about someone "f*cking" several people.
  • Manray then asks Sloan if she slept with Pierre in the past. She says that she did a very long time ago, but that it had nothing to do with getting her job. She then goes on about men thinking women have to "f*ck or suck" their way to get to the top. She then says, "I f*cked him. How about that."
  • Pierre mentions Sloan's sexual exploits to Manray.
  • Big Black Africa smokes a few times as do some of his cronies, while Pierre smokes once and various miscellaneous/background characters also smoke.
  • Pierre and his father seem to have a strained relationship and Pierre states in voice over that after we see them together after his father's standup act, it was the last time Pierre saw his father.
  • How African-American performers and characters were portrayed/played in the past in acts such as minstrel shows and how they're portrayed in today's films and TV shows (as well as used - or not -- behind the camera).
  • Director Spike Lee's use of such stereotypes in this film and how one should react to them.
  • In an imagined scene, a person grabs and slaps another person.
  • Some men drag Manray off the stage.
  • Big Black Africa's men abduct a man and then fire guns at his feet to make him dance. They eventually shoot and kill him.
  • Pierre smashes and breaks things in a room.
  • A shootout between the police and bad guys breaks out, with most of the bad guys being shot to death (non-graphically, although we later see blood on and around their bodies).
  • A person holds a gun on another person and then shoots them twice in the gut.

  • Reviewed September 21, 2000 / Posted October 20, 2000

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