Artisan // 1999 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Norman Short (Retired) // May 26th, 2000
He's a brother that pales by comparison.
Mitch Mullany (The Wayans Bros., Nick Fresno: Licensed Teacher) plays Derrick, an Irish white boy who grew up with a black family in South Central LA. He's so assimilated he almost thinks he's black, but is also a slacker who never finishes anything he starts to do. Today is a bad day, as he gets thrown out of his house, fired from his job, and has gang-bangers and redneck cops alike after him. Everything will be alright if he can just bring home a gallon of milk...which is a much harder proposition than it sounds. Artisan brings this wacky comedy to DVD, and I think it's worth a look.
I started out with very low expectations, and the beginning of the movie seemed to reinforce them. Some of the comedy was of the gross-out variety and overly obvious. But as the film went on things just seemed to get funnier and funnier. When Derrick crashes the militant black group arming themselves to "Kill Whitey" and scolds them for not including him in the meeting, I was laughing hard. Other comedic set pieces in the movie, such as the kidnapping by gay terrorists, were hard to resist. And when Derrick approaches "The Master" for the answers to life's questions, funk legend George Clinton gives him some magic in the form of an original song. Derrick can stay true to his "black roots" and still grow to become a man.
This is House Party type of humor, which has never been my big draw, being about as whitebread as they come, but in this case I really enjoyed it. It's safe to say I wasn't the target demographic here but if I liked it, younger people more in tune with the hip hop lifestyle will enjoy it even more. Astute viewers will notice cameos by a lot of hip hop artists and popular black comics.
Artisan did a good job with the transfer. This anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer looks great. Colors are bright and vivid, detail is sharp and clear. There is a bit of motion artifacting, but its not bad. The film print is extremely clean with only a little bit of grain.
The soundtrack is only Dolby Surround, but it packs a big punch, even down into subwoofer range. It is pretty closed in to the front soundstage, providing more of a hemispheric rather than enveloping experience.
There are adequate extras but nothing overwhelming with the disc. Cast and crew info, production notes, and a trailer for the DVD are all we get. What is there isn't bad.
There is a fair bit of humor that didn't work so well. The swimming pool in particular, and I'll leave it at that. I should mention there is a huge amount of bad language in the film as well.
Again I have to comment on the lack of closed captioning on Artisan discs. They seriously need to address this issue. I think more extras would have been welcome as well.
If you like movies like Friday and the House Party series then you'll probably like this. I think this rises above some of them, but I'm not an expert in this genre. Give it a rental to see if its up your alley, unless you're a fan of this type of film, in which case judge by your love of extras whether to buy.
There is no basis to bring charges here. The movie is funny, and tries for nothing more than that. Artisan is fined once more for lack of closed captions.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Production Notes
* Cast and Crew Info