THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Wednesday, January 17, 1996 TAG: 9601160027 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E5 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie Review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: Medium: 70 lines
MAYBE IT'S past time that someone put a laugh into the 'hood, but ``Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood'' is a pretty lame effort. To be more correct, there is little apparent effort at all. As a spoof of the ``hood'' movies (such as ``Boyz 'N the Hood,'' ``Menace II Society,'' ``Poetic Justice'' and ``Fresh''), it has several humorous moments but, for the most part, it is repetitive, juvenile simplicity that looks as it were churned out in a rush, with no effort at being either biting or imaginative.
We could have hoped for something on the level of the ``Naked Gun'' or ``Hot Shots'' satires.
Every gag is repeated numerous times and every one is either sexist or racist. The women are treated as less-than-human objects of derision. The racial slurs, if made by any mainstream moviemaker, would not be tolerated. Here, vulgarity and lack of taste are trotted out as the main selling quality.
The film gives work to Shawn and Marlon Wayans, the younger brothers of the more talented creators of the often-hilarious TV sketch-show ``In Living Color.'' Many of the bits could have (if cleaned up a bit) served as the subjects of serviceable skits on the show. Stringing them together into an overly long feature film, though, only emphasizes the lack of wit.
The basic idea is a funny one. The teenage hero's name is Ashtray (Shawn Wayans), supposedly named after Tre, the tragic hero of ``Boyz 'N the Hood.'' His mother leaves him at his father's home because, as she puts it, ``There ain't no positive black females in these movies.''
The best friend is Loc Dog (Marlon Wayans) who wears condoms and pacifiers in his hair. They live on Drive-By Boulevard where the eating establishments are called Fatburger and the convenience stores are called Guns and Liquor.
Crazy Legs, a character who is the brunt of much ``fun,'' was the best break dancer in the area before his legs were paralyzed in a drive-by shooting.
The most active character is a grandmother who spits out vulgarity that tops any of the teens, fires a gun with the ease of a veteran, and totally disrupts an already-spirited revival meeting when she gets down and does a frantic break dance.
In one of the more superflous scenes, the dead body of Elvis Presley is found, with his pants pulled down.
Taste is not in supply here.
Only briefly do the writers attempt any humor that is inflammatory, however. They go, mainly, for broad slapstick - aiming low.
The chaotic and repetitive style has about as much purpose as a real drive-by shooting. ILLUSTRATION: MOVIE REVIEW
``Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in
Cast: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Tracey Cherelle Jones, Chris
Director: Paris Barclay
Screenplay: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Phil Beauman, Tracy
Music: John Barnes
MPAA rating: R (obscenity, violence, brief nudity)
Mal's rating: one and 1/2 stars
Locations: Greenbrier in Chesapeake; Janaf, Main Gate in
Norfolk; Lynnhaven 8, Pembroke in Virginia Beach