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'Malibu's Most Wanted'

'Malibu's Most Wanted' not so fly

Friday, April 18, 2003

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Don't be hatin'. That will be your new catchphrase if you (or your 12-year-old) sees "Malibu's Most Wanted," a comedy that collapses like a Saddam statue but delivers some goofy charm and laughs before then. It allows the WB's Jamie Kennedy to reprise his character B-Rad (Bradley to the rest of the world), a privileged young white man from Malibu who talks, acts and dresses like a downtrodden black rapper from the hood.

Most Wanted'

RATING: PG-13 for sexual humor, language and violence

STARRING: Jamie Kennedy, Taye Diggs, Anthony Anderson

DIRECTOR: John Whitesell

WEB SITE: malibusmostwanted.com


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Never mind that he hangs out at the Malibrew Coffee Shop with The A.C.C. or Abused Children of Celebrities. B-Rad has become a liability in his father's quest to become governor of California. His campaign manager (Blair Underwood) decides to "scare the black out of him" and hires actors (Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson) to pretend to kidnap him and show him what it's really like in South Central.

They enlist a young woman (Regina Hall) in their scheme, which goes horribly awry when B-Rad proves dangerously unaware -- he uses the N-word in an all-black club -- and then accidentally adept at the gangsta life.

Although Kennedy is like a musician who has perfected a single song, he's surrounded by strong performers such as Diggs, Anderson and Hall. In addition to B-Rad acting like he's black, the kidnappers try to draw on their training from Juilliard and the Pasadena Playhouse to portray inner-city anger and thuggery.

Ryan O'Neal, looking fit after his battle with leukemia, plays Bradley's father and Bo Derek is cast as his mother, although she's given virtually nothing to do. Snoop Dogg provides the voice of an advice-dispensing rat, one of the movie's less successful elements.

You don't have to live in Malibu to appreciate white kids who dress or act like Detroit rappers; you only have to watch "8 Mile" or visit a mall. "Malibu's Most Wanted" chugs along by playing with stereotypes and then loses its comic way by resorting to car crashes, weaponry gone awry and an attempt to be heartfelt and tie everything up in a blissful bow. To quote B-Rad, that's worse than having "the public be all up on your private beach."

Barbara Vancheri can be reached at bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632.

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